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De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021

Stilly River Sage 27 Mar 21 - 06:55 PM
mg 27 Mar 21 - 10:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Mar 21 - 11:26 AM
Dorothy Parshall 28 Mar 21 - 05:29 PM
Jon Freeman 29 Mar 21 - 03:19 AM
Charmion 29 Mar 21 - 09:58 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 21 - 11:35 AM
Charmion 29 Mar 21 - 12:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Mar 21 - 05:47 PM
Jon Freeman 30 Mar 21 - 04:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 30 Mar 21 - 09:44 AM
Jon Freeman 31 Mar 21 - 06:10 AM
Jon Freeman 31 Mar 21 - 07:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Mar 21 - 11:33 AM
Jon Freeman 31 Mar 21 - 12:07 PM
Jon Freeman 31 Mar 21 - 04:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Mar 21 - 04:44 PM
Jon Freeman 31 Mar 21 - 07:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Mar 21 - 07:37 PM
Mrrzy 31 Mar 21 - 11:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Apr 21 - 12:48 AM
Jon Freeman 01 Apr 21 - 07:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Apr 21 - 10:22 AM
Jon Freeman 01 Apr 21 - 11:17 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Apr 21 - 01:02 PM
Charmion 01 Apr 21 - 08:58 PM
Jon Freeman 02 Apr 21 - 10:30 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Apr 21 - 11:31 AM
Jon Freeman 02 Apr 21 - 12:15 PM
Jon Freeman 02 Apr 21 - 12:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Apr 21 - 11:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 21 - 10:25 AM
Mrrzy 03 Apr 21 - 10:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 21 - 10:47 AM
Dorothy Parshall 03 Apr 21 - 12:06 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Apr 21 - 04:37 PM
keberoxu 04 Apr 21 - 01:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Apr 21 - 03:12 PM
keberoxu 04 Apr 21 - 03:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Apr 21 - 04:03 PM
keberoxu 04 Apr 21 - 06:21 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Apr 21 - 07:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Apr 21 - 10:09 AM
Charmion 05 Apr 21 - 10:42 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Apr 21 - 09:59 PM
Charmion 06 Apr 21 - 08:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Apr 21 - 05:56 PM
Charmion 07 Apr 21 - 10:33 AM
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Stilly River Sage 07 Apr 21 - 06:36 PM
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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Mar 21 - 06:55 PM

I bought a frozen pizza yesterday, and after lunch had half leftover. My normal go-to container would be the lately departed Tupperware bacon keeper. But just try finding exactly what you want on Amazon. Many are the dimensions long and wide but are too tall. They do have some vintage Tupperware, but I'm intent on BPA free plastic assurances. The closest I've found is a shallow food keeper at the Container Store. But that looks too shallow for when I want to store leftover flautas (rolled corn tortillas with chicken inside). I think a trip by the Container Store and their copious ranges of storage shelving is in order. Tupperware clearly has me spoiled for any other manufacturer's product, but they're so damned expensive. Rubbermaid's egg keeper is close but still a little too big.   

I'm feeding a friend's cats this weekend and trying to make my trips efficient by planning more than one stop. It looks like this is the one to add on to the cat dinner run.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg
Date: 27 Mar 21 - 10:58 PM

there is nothing i like better than bacon keeping. i put all sorts of things in them and they stack so well. i got several for two dollars each at an outlet store.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Mar 21 - 11:26 AM

Years ago I got some good, various-sized food containers at a local dollar store (I still use them), but most of those stores have been gone for a long time now. Maybe Dollar Tree has some? I've only ever been in a Dollar Tree one time. Today on the lunchtime cat feeding trip I'll swing by there, and if they don't have anything, then stop at the Container Store. As Mary suggests, bacon keepers stack nicely, or sit on the shelf with room for other things of various shapes on top.

Yesterday I laid out the cheap 5' x 7' Harbor Freight tarp in the front yard and piled on brush, then grabbed the corners and took the bulky thing to the back yard. This will work, though this morning I'll tie some retired clothesline into a loop on each corner to make it easier to grasp. I'm depositing this in the back of the yard and am planning to use the mower to break up most of these twiggy branches of salvia and rosemary into mulch.

With the understanding that "sitting is the new smoking," since a few weeks ago I've made a point of changing tasks every hour or two so that I'm not just sitting sewing or writing all afternoon. I particularly feel it in my knees - they don't complain as much as when I stay in the same position for a long time. This is also possibly more efficient for getting several things done in a day.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 28 Mar 21 - 05:29 PM

Beaver:

Worked a lot yesterday and was plumb wore out by 5 pm and in bed by 7:30. All pottery related. I have trays and trays of pots - some drying, most bisqued and needing decorating and glazing and two glazes need sieving. My right arm says "forget it!" Some have to be moved on out - made ready for glaze fire and moved to kiln before I can throw more. Hope tomorrow; time is starting to get short - before I get vaccine and go back to Quebec.

I find if I do not move often enough, I have to start un-seizing all over again! Today has been a total rest day - other than changing the sheets and numerous trips to windows to see how high the the stream is! Raining like mad most of day. Still room in the culvert but the stream is at least 10 feet wide - instead of 2-3. I reckon the tree Dan planted over near the bridge is washed away. The bridge is holding firm. He came over the spring before he built it to get an idea what needed to be done! It is bolted to concrete foundations. And still I am wondering...

I did find the umbrella under the car seat yesterday and brought inside, too tired to go do anything but I have an umbrella!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Mar 21 - 03:19 AM

I had a good day on Saturday. The problem with the lights was cured with the new bulbs. I put the new Ethernet cable outside. I fitted the new camera in the kitchen. I also fixed the drinking water tap (separate tap on the sink with under sink filter) which had come loose. The only slight problem was the kitchen lights were still turning off at bad times.

I thought that was going to be easy to fix but along came Sunday. I won’t go into the details, many of which are a bit technical, but it was one of those days where nearly everything I tried developed new areas of complication or snags. I got there in the end but what started off as simple aims that I thought would be achieved in a couple of hours wound up as 12 hours of frustration and a temper nearing boiling point.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Mar 21 - 09:58 AM

Replacement of my rickety basement windows has finally reached Tony the carpenter's to-do list. His latest email included a cost proposal (indicating that he had located a supplier that actually has supply) and he promised a visit today to refresh his memory of the locus in quo.

So I'm feeling a little better, at least with respect to windows.

Nephew Louis came by yesterday to try Edmund's bicycle on for size, and it seems to be a good fit. Now all we have to do is figure out how to move it to St Catharine's without renting a van.

The weather has turned sharply colder, as often happens at this time of year, and a light layer of snow covers the roofs and lawns of the neighbourhood. My tulips, hyacinths and daffodils have sprouted, but they won't mind.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 21 - 11:35 AM

Jon, I think you described the arc of many technical tasks we do around our houses. It starts out a simple changeout, then you realize there are other moving parts that need attention if you're going to do it correctly. When I put in the new set of shelves it wasn't just moving a couple of things and loading stuff on the shelves, I had every piece of computer equipment and peripheral unplugged, dusted, repositioned, and put back into service by the time I finished. It took hours and there was some cursing.

This morning I texted my handyman about tilling the garden (I called him about 10 days ago to suggest we do it this week after some rain softened the soil). He said he'll text when he's ready to come over - meaning I have today to mow and scalp the area with the string trimmer.

When they call or text, especially with the supply of materials and available time, it's important to make that work in your schedule! Good work on the windows, Charmion! I'd love new windows here, but they're several items down on the "to do" list. Wasn't the position of your air conditioner/heater unit moved because of the proximity to one of these windows?

I filled that new tarp with the remnants of my once wonderful woody rosemary bush, and I also cut down my dead bay tree. I'm thinking I'll keep the bay trimmed down shrub sized so it doesn't shade part of the garden so much. This is assuming something sprouts back from the roots. There are a couple of pups around the rosemary plant that I'll nudge to life. Those should grow much faster than buying a new plant and putting it in.

I found two keeper-style containers at the Container Store that will store flat. I also picked up a small bin to put potatoes or onions in, then realized I already had a couple of plastic bins I'd evicted from the fridge recently. But as summer progresses I'll use those for produce so they are in limbo now, but not excess.

More people died from the February freeze than in Hurricane Harvey. That just came over the radio on Texas Standard radio show. As a participant in that exercise, I can say that I'm not surprised—too many people simply wouldn't have been equipped to stay safely in their homes, yet in their homes they stayed.

Research time: my sister told me about a compost-turning auger she got from the Garden Tool Company down here in Texas. I have to figure out what that is and where she got it. Apparently it's a screw thing that really does a good job of turning the compost pile contents. Something any of the gardeners in this running conversation might be interested in. I'll report back on what I find (I'm looking at a note I made to myself during a conversation and sharing it here so I don't lose track of that garden project).


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Mar 21 - 12:47 PM

We had one of those compost stirring gadgets, and it did not last long — one of the blades bent only halfway into the summer. We got it from a good supplier, too, so I’m still a bit resentful.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Mar 21 - 05:47 PM

So far the one my sister is using seems to be working, or she'd have mentioned that.

I am kicking myself now for not having looked harder before when I couldn't get my Amazon Fire tablet to talk to the computer. I have been thinking about getting a Samsung tablet just so I had one that would behave nicely and let me move files back and forth - but instead of buying that tablet I made myself make one more attempt.

It's a two-part answer. It doesn't want to connect with Bluetooth, and it wants to connect with a USB-3.1 cable and I had the cable on a much slower 2 or 1 port on the hub. AND on the tablet when you pull down from the top of the screen and see the message about the USB charging, you then (once it's plugged into the USB 3 port) can see the guts and the card in the tablet while in Windows Explorer. It only took an effing year of playing games with moving files via thumb drives. And of course, it took a flashlight and moving the computer table to get a look at the ports on the back and then to realize that I have two little class C USB 3.0 ports that I haven't been using because I don't have those cables. Now they're ordered. And this illustrates why the cataracts are such a pain - needing the flashlight to do any of this stuff. I made a point of getting lots of 3.1 ports when I ordered this, I just didn't pay attention that they fit a different cable. I have some adapters I can use, but dedicated cables are better. #FinallyGettingAroundToDoingTheMath

Jon, back to you. Your turn. :-)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 30 Mar 21 - 04:20 AM

Hee-Hee… Yesterday’s odds and ends didn’t start too well. I’d had another think about putting the kitchen camera directly on the wired network and decided that I could run a cable from the switch in my room to the camera by following the same route my main cables take and teeing off the trunking under the kitchen window. It should have been straightforward but I got a bit heavy handed and damaged the cable and have had to order another one.

Things got a lot better from there though. It was quite breezy today but it was still a lovely sunny day. I did a bit of mowing and strimming and mum joined me outside. I went in to make the evening meal at about 4:30pm, went back outside to eat mine and stayed out till about 7:00. So a lot of my time yesterday was just enjoying the weather.

Maybe I’ll be back to computers (and frustrations with them) today. It depends on when Amazon deliver. I’ve got something else coming to play with btw. An Alexa Echo. It is supposed to be able to work with the Homeseer software I use these days and I’ll be interested to find out how that works out.

My own feeling has always been that voice commands probably don’t work too well in a room with conversation and the tv on but I could be wrong. Even if doesn’t work out in those conditions, I think mum might find it useful. She’s finding she sleeps better in the peaceful living room and calling for a light to turn on if she needs one would probably be more convenient than reaching for the remote control.


On the eyesight, I don’t think I’ve got things as badly as you but I certainly know the feeling that I need increasing amounts of light.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Mar 21 - 09:44 AM

After May the vision will be restored - not something that can be said about reduced functionality in very many other parts of our bodies!

I have two Amazon Echo "dots" here; one in the kitchen and one in the sewing room. There are Alexa enabled devices around (televisions and my phone) that I don't use.

I use the kitchen Alexa to turn on and off a light over the table and to listen to various broadcasts. I don't usually ask for any of the things the emails about Alexa suggest I can do. I did read a thing that you can get Alexa to respond to whispers, but you have to alert it to that change somehow. The dot in my sewing room is for listening to different radio and Sirius XM broadcasts. I mentioned before that I have another smart lightbulb to figure out where it might be best used. The one in the kitchen is part of a network that is an app on my phone and connected from there to Alexa. I don't remember now how much practice or routine I had to go through to "train" the first Dot to recognize my voice.

Running cable - oy - I've done a lot of that up in the attic and down into the walls in several rooms, and this reminds me that I still have a couple of rooms I've been meaning to finish. Simply pulling out the coaxial with the Cat 6 taped onto the end in the room so that once it reaches the attic I can use the Cat 6 up there to connect where I want without fishing around for stuff. I have coaxial cable in a couple of rooms of the house but it doesn't get used for anything except to run from the outside antenna. I have several related projects up there that this time of year would be good for (before it turns into a summer oven). I bought some of the plastic heavy-duty decking Attic Dek material to run through the areas where I need to go for wiring and such and to be able to walk on, not move carefully along the joists. They're the dimension to put down from joist-to-joist and screw into place.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 06:10 AM

I like the decking, SRS.

Alexa so far has been yet another frustration.

Alexa doesn’t seem to like the words or my attempts at “Right”, “Left” or “Spot” which seemed to be at the root of messages including “I don’t understand” as well as error beeps.

I tried going nautical with the living room and changing “Spot”. That got me to “Port Table Light”, “Port “Spotlight”, “Starboard Table Light” and “Starboard Spotlight”. 3 of 4 of these worked reasonably reliably (main thing was to make the “t” in “port” strong and rather exaggerated for me, otherwise it goes for “porch”) but it couldn’t work out the 4th (I can’t remember which that was) and I can’t see how my pronunciation could be changing to affect this.

If I try to use “Bedroom Light”, I’m informed “A few things share the name Bedroom Light” even though there is only one. Going by this Reddit thread and other search results, this appears to be a bug in the Alexa set up that has existed (perhaps intermittently) for at least 2 years. It also has given success “OK” for the nonexistent “Bedroom Light 99”, something I called out in frustration/trying to find some uniqueness.

Well that bit was frustrating but I had some fun with it later. A couple of things that amused me:

Asking it what the longest place name in Wales is produced an answer which contained the worst attempt at Llanfair PG that I've ever heard.

Asking it if it is a long way to Tipperary resulted in the Alexa voice singing the song!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 07:36 AM

I've just found that I might not (unchecked as yet) have needed to replace the cable for the kitchen. It is marked and I did tug a bit hard but there was another problem which caused me a bit of head scratching. The smart switch in my room it uses was showing a network connection and supplying power but a closer look revealed it was on the wrong VLAN.

Oh well, kitchen is better for the change. My temporary solution involved the wireless access point and supplying poe near the camera. That's gone and there is just one flat Cat6 cable doing the job now. It should also be more reliable having removed the wireless element or at least I have more faith in things hard wired...

Better move on to something non tech... I potted the peppers and aubergines on a couple of days ago and they are looking good. 4 types of tomatoes and some marigolds are now in the propagator. Acrylic sheets for the greenhouses should be with me some time this week.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 11:33 AM

Jon, I don't use the word "light" at all - I tell Alexa "Turn on Dining Table" and it goes to that named item in the list of smart bulbs in the house (in the linked phone app). Sometimes sequences mess up for Alexa also. If I say "turn on MSNBC on Sirius XM" it does it, but if I tell it later to "turn off MSNBC" it doesn't know what I mean. In that instance I need to tell it to turn off the Sirius XM. Does the Alexa you get speak with the UK accent? Or is it the American voice? Or do you have a choice?

The dog-curated forest floor look is back. Time to vacuum and mop.

In the greenhouse I've been filling pots with my homemade potting mix, and I need to get some fresh seeds for a few things. Some of the old seeds work, but not all. The garden should be tilled this week and then I need to begin shaping the beds. I'll use some purchased bedding plants also. And I'm going to get some powdered Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) to try to keep the worms from killing the squash plants (dusting it on in a hyper-local way). I usually use the liquid, but I'll try the other to see if that helps.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 12:07 PM

Alexa has an English UK voice here. The language options would allow me to use United States for example but there are warnings that such settings do not match my country and some features may not work. Apparently it also takes a few minutes for a change to take effect.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 04:39 PM

Trying to remove light from a couple as a test didn’t help anything SRS but I think I can see where my duplicates are coming from. I don’t think it’s quite but along these lines:

Alexa is using the full Homeseer names which consist of floor, room and device and I can avoid the message if I use the full mouthful. It’s a shame there is no provision to provide a nickname. Take the bedroom, I have these names:

indoors bedroom bedroom light
indoors bedroom bedside light

If an SQL query went

SELECT device WHERE name LIKE “%bedroom%” AND name LIKE “%light%”

Both would match. Something like asking Alexa to turn on “light bedside” would work and it does. In fact just asking to turn on "bedside" is fine too. There is only one device containing the word "kitchen" so I can go "turn kitchen on", etc.

The workaround I’ve used for the bedroom one is to change the room name to “bed”.

That just leaves me with trying to come up with names Alexa will recognise and we will find easy to use for the two table lights and the two spot lights in the living room.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 04:44 PM

Contact has been achieved with the friend who will till the garden; it is now time to take the organic herbicide and hit the Bermudagrass and see if I can kill it before we churn it.

Cables arrived yesterday for the faster series C devices and it's time to retire a couple of the older cables.

Tomorrow is trash day so I'll spend time generating dusty trash in the vacuum and put it out at the curb in the morning. And I have the personal objective of completely clearing off the kitchen table (the one under the light Alexa turns on and off for me.) I saw on a little video from Nate Burkus that he no longer promotes having a formal dining room. I use the den area for the dining table when we need to spread out. I'm thinking it's time to dust behind a few things in that part of the kitchen then move that big dining table into the kitchen and use the small kitchen table somewhere else. The main problem with this plan is that I'll be tempted to rearrange the den and then have to run cables and speaker wire in different areas.

Maybe I'd better stick to gardening and the rearranging urge will pass.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 07:22 PM

If I have more to say on the Alexa after this, I'll start another thread rather than keep going here but for here, I leave it with this.

"Big Table Light", "Small Table Light", "T V Spotlight" and "Other Spotlight" work fine and keep things understandable for us with Alexa and for me with the Homeseer interface.

The next thing I tried was adding the Honeywell Evohome skill. The first tests worked fine allowing me for example to say "set hall to 20". The problem is that with this is that in place, "turn hall light on" gives "hall does not support that". Renaming the hall thermostat zone (each room has its own zone) to "T Hall" takes me back to duplicate name problems with the light for reasons I can't fathom but show there were errors in my previous thoughts...

I suppose I'll find some naming system that does work but I'm finding Alexa a bit of a nightmare.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 07:37 PM

And here I'm thinking about where to put a second smart lightbulb. You're lightyears ahead of me as far as Alexa is involved!

Seeds picked up today and before I do anything else I'll go through the tray of old seeds and toss all of the ones that I know are not viable. Some of them last for years, others don't. The only plants I picked up are two ornamentals that will replace those from a pot that was in the greenhouse during the big freeze. Bat-face cuphea is a shrub planted in the ground in USDA Zone 9, but here in Zone 8 it's a plant in a pot that winters in the greenhouse.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy
Date: 31 Mar 21 - 11:39 PM

Got talked into a bigger tv.

That meant moving the old tv. So I also moved a bookcase to put the moved old tv on. That involved cleaning all the books, organizing, and culling.

So then I put my card table in that no-longer-spare room, with its one surviving chair.

And I cleaned off and moved a shelf from my bedroom into the ex-spare room, to put the things that had been on top of the bookcase on. That involved finally cleaning all the clutter and knickknacks off the highboy where I had stuck what came off the shelf I moved.

And I moved all my art supplies from my office area into my not-spare room, organized.

Now I have a studio instead of an unused room! And I have already drawn and painted stuff. Woot! And my desk is cleaned off! And my tallboy!

And all for a bigger tv! Which did not arrive today as scheduled. But hey.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 12:48 AM

Good for you! And isn't that the way these projects progress - touch one thing and it snowballs into a production. It sounds like you have several rejuvenated lovely spaces.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 07:48 AM

The new cooker was installed this morning so we are almost back to a fully functional kitchen.

I say almost as there is a fault with it. That is that the markings on the knob for the main oven don't line up correctly. Where the knob clicks to the off position lines up nearly with the 75 degree marking and turning to full on goes a way past the max marking. I doubt that it's much but I won't know what temperature the oven is set to until it's fixed.

That aside, I'll have to get used to it now. I knew with the old one say where I wanted a ring set to to simmer something and that with the ovens even when things were working properly, the top oven always seemed to be a little under temperature and the main oven needed a little reduction from what a recipe would suggest for a fan assisted one. Minor details I suppose but this cooker is sure to be a bit different.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 10:22 AM

Several years ago I scorched a few things before I realized that the new burners ("eye" or "ring" to you?) were in better shape than my former stove, and the oven is more accurate. No need to turn things on higher than the temperature on the knob said any more.

The first organic application of weed killer on the turf where the garden will go appears to have had no affect overnight. I'll fill the sprayer with 10% vinegar ("pickling" strength - regular table strength is standardized at 5%) and add some delimonene (orange oil) to it for another jolt in full sunlight today. The goal is to kill most of the Bermudagrass, though I may be throwing good organic weed killer after bad on this stuff - I suspect Bermudagrass would join cockroaches in surviving a nuclear bomb blast.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 11:17 AM

I use "ring" and don't think I've come across "eye".


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 01:02 PM

"Eye" is a southern (Appalachia) term that I thought might also come from across the pond. A friend from North Carolina's mountains used to talk about the "eye" on her stovetop.

I'm not seeing much impact from the first organic weed killer so am going to head out with white vinegar and orange oil in the sunshine.

The trash came too early for me to get things out there today. I spotted an article from Martha Stewart on Instagram that reminded me of a few things I haven't cleaned or cleared up for a while, including the furnace filters. 11 Things You're Forgetting to Clean (or Replace!) Around Your Home.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 202
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 08:58 PM

My word for the fiery things on my gas-fired kitchen range (or cooker, if you’re Brit) is « hob ». The coils on an electric range are « burners ».

This week I went back to the Y for pool class, which worked out so well I clean forgot that today was Needle Day and I had to go to Kitchener to be shot. The Y has a booking website now, and twice as many classes as there were before the pandemic began because now the pool can accommodate only 10 people. The locker room is far more tolerable with only about a dozen women in it, and the pool itself is still a witch’s brew of chemicals but at least now it’s a comparatively clean witch’s brew of chemicals.

I have spent rather a lot of time this week on the phone talking about house repairs and in Zoom meetings about the future of the choir. So far I have seen neither hide nor hair of Tony the carpenter, and the choir probably won’t survive another winter without genuine live-and-in-person rehearsals and performances.

But just when we thought things were looking up, variant COVID began surging in Ontario cities, especially greater Toronto. Consequently, the Diocese of Huron cancelled real-life Easter services yesterday (no Anglican super-spreader events allowed), and today the provincial government announced that another general lockdown will begin at midnight on Friday.

Now I’m wondering when I’ll ever get another haircut.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Apr 21 - 10:30 AM

could use "burner" but the appliance would need to be gas.

I'm still trying to get the cooker sorted.

Mum (a have difficulties starting many phone calls) phoned Beko support yesterday. They firstly denied the existence of the product and then forwarded her to another number (maybe in Turkey where Beko are based?) where mum could not understand the English of the person answering the call. I then tried emailing Beko support and got no reply.

I started with emailing the retailer AO today with an email that outlined both the fault and the problems we had with Beko support. They try to push you to the manufacturers as I think a lot of companies probably do but, legally, they are responsible for selling me goods not of satisfactory quality.

It started off well with a quick response which asked for a picture. I did that and the problem was acknowledged in a follow up email but that email also suggested I should try Beko first.

I've repeated the problems we had with Beko, told them I'm not prepared to go further that way and I'm asking them to sort it out and am waiting for a reply.

And all this for what I think is simply a misprinted knob. I'd accept one in the post to try rather than getting repair people in or looking for a replacement cooker.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Apr 21 - 11:31 AM

That would be the easiest. Have you looked up the stove (just enter the model number in a Google search) plus "repair parts" or something like that? You may be able to spend a couple of dollars and sort it out faster than the store will. I've found sites online that offer all of the individual replacement items for my dryer, and one of these days I'll take the dryer apart and repair the gasket on the drum edge that has slipped a little and keeps grabbing things while it's running, on occasion leaving a rubbery stretch mark on a pillow case or wash cloth. It isn't so bad to spend the megabucks of a repair guy coming to the house.

Haircut today. I've been going to this hairdresser for over 10 years, so there is a lot to catch up on (my last haircut was Feb. 12, 2020). My t-shirt has a neutral message (to me anyway - "NPR") and pants with legs loose enough so I can show off the surgery scar on my knee. I decided I'd wear something other than my usual couple of pairs of yard shoes; I've worn socks and shoes all year since the surgery, for whatever reason. Until then I usually wore sockless slip-on loafers and was a little bit dressier for work or even going out as a retiree. That felt a little strange this morning, and just in case I were to give myself a blister that might spoil some of the pleasure in getting out to a couple of other shops after the haircut, I went with a pair of socks and lace-up shoes that I haven't worn since before the knee surgery. After I put them on I realized I should have blown out the dust. It won't kill the socks, so no big deal, but this is a relic of living through a pandemic. Dusty shoes.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Apr 21 - 12:15 PM

Appointment for repair made now. A lot of questions, mostly Covid related bit we have someone coming on the 7th and I've accepted that.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Apr 21 - 12:53 PM

I think I've always begrudged the price of spares, SRS.

I worked for Hotpoint for a few years in the 80s. My first job there was as a line labourer but my second was on the staff. That position was more involved with the movement and reliable figures of stock than cost but I could see the cost of every part.

I don't suppose I've ever come to grips with lets say and I'm not sure this is right, a 50p door gasket becoming a £15 spare part. I suppose I could even extend that sort of puzzlement to small packets of screws when you see self tappers coming in at pennies per thousand.

But, yea, I don't understand the supply/demand/distributing/holding things in stock, etc. things. And of course we where using a fair amount of things.

In those days, Hotpoint Kinmel site was putting out 400 front loaders a day on each of lines 1,2 and 4 a day and line 3 did 400 dryers a day. Lines 3 and 4 often ran a night shift on top of the day one. Then there was line 5 which was lower volume and new in my time which was putting out the then new over 1000 RPM spin models. You can wonder where they all go to...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Apr 21 - 11:38 PM

Jon, you have an interesting behind-the-scenes view of the situation; I've read that if you took all of the parts of a car and priced them individually to build a car the vehicle would be exponentially more expensive than from the factory. I suspect there is an aspect of availability and storage that comes into the pricing of spare parts.

I decluttered my head of about 10" of hair today and am loving the lighter feel. All of the damaged ends are gone and much of the hair that had the color from highlights. Not all is gone, but a lot. It seems I'm not the only client who, after all of this time, has decided that maybe going gray isn't so bad after all. At least for now.

Today I knew I'd have to be at an appointment soon after lunch so I pushed back the tilling appointment, and it'll have to happen middle of next week. I forgot that this weekend is Easter stuff and while to me it's just another Sunday my friend has family stuff to celebrate. Meanwhile I have things to keep me busy in the yard.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 10:25 AM

The neighbors were already mowing when I got up this morning (they didn't start too early, I slept a bit late) and today appears to be a day I'll spend mostly in the yard. To start, building my compost enclosure, dog-proof version 16.0 (Cinnamon arrived here in 2005 and my compost was a much more casual operation then, but I still worked to keep the dogs out).

This means starting the little tiller (the one given me by the neighbors, not the big one Antonio will bring over to break up the main garden) and running it through the old compost piles and preparing those to be moved to the new garden next week. And I have a smaller piece of garden next to the back door that I'll till on my own to start before then.

There's a lot of cardboard that needs recycling, but I suppose I should hold onto it (not visit the village bins) until I decide completely where paths are going to go in the new gardens, between raised beds. Cardboard makes a good weed barrier.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 10:32 AM

New tv came. Way too big for my house (compared to the giant ones in the store it hadn't seemed so huge!) so it is going back. Getting a smaller (but still bigger than my old) one.

Meanwhile I am doing *lots* of art because the studio has my only tv!

Somehow the cleaning of the little bookshelf kinda cascaded into taking all the books off all the shelves in my long hallway that is all bookshelves, cleaning the books, reorganizing, culling, cleaning the bookshelves, putting back. Bagged all the boys' books, invited them to dinner, handed them the bags. Room for art now amongst the shelves! Not thinking that it is room for books! Down, hoarding reflex, bad reflex, down!

I deny that this is mania. I feel fine, but I am no judge of my own maniacal levels. At least I was able to stop when the job was done...

And, in the fitness department, my vax site is ramping up from about 300 shots a day to 2000, so yesterday instead of pacing desultorily for 4 hours in front of the site, I walked quickly up and down a quarter-mile long line making sure folks were where they needed to be, for 4 hours [note the comma placement, there!]. So last night my legs were doing the crampy thing every time I shifted position where you have to get up outa bed and stand on the crampy leg to unpoint your toes.

Signing up for more shifts next week. Working towards being able to walk up and down that line and not have my legs do the night cramp thing.

Also, I am in favor of never cutting hair. Keeping it kempt is necessary, styling it ok, but cutting it is unnecessary.

Also in favor of facial hair. Mine won't grow, but on Zoom I have a moustache filter, and in public a bearded mask. Not looking forward to not having those in the future! So enjoying having them!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 10:47 AM

That room sounds amazing, Mrrzy! And congratulations to you for working at the COVID shot clinic! What kinds of art are you producing? Do you do commercial art?

It wasn't until recently that I realized I should focus on shampooing just my scalp and the hair adjacent to it, leaving the length to hang down my back and give it just a quick sudsy once-over and not pile it all on top of my head for an entangling wash that required spray detangler to sort out after the shower. Untangling my hair meant breaking some ends in the process, so the bottom few inches were thinner and not as healthy. Cutting it all off means I can pay attention to better hair care if I want it to grow longer (I'll grow it out a couple of more inches and keep it at about that length). And it means a pony tail to poke out through the back of my ball cap that isn't so heavy that my scalp aches under the elastics after a while.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 12:06 PM

Beaver:

Time does fly by. I have been totally focused on A.getting a vaccine; Finding out from the paper that friends had already gotten it here in Bancroft, I phoned and got some particulars then drove to the Legion and got a phone number from the man keeping order, went to the car and phoned; After interminable messages, I got a woman whom I could not understand at all; she put me back on hold - more of the same %^&*( messages! - and Finally a wonderful woman who listened, spoke clearly and changed my appointment from the place an hour away to the place 5 minutes away! I thanked her profusely on the verge of happy tears. My energy level is so incredibly iffy that a two hour trip would mean two hours of not getting work done on the pottery and I really want to get this lot done so I can get back to Quebec and R. So B is:

Some days I can work for two hours, rest a couple and do two more. Other days, after a really busy day, I am totally unable to do anything but read, rest, possibly go to a store five minutes away. This is me at 84. I just tell myself to get used to it. But keep on trying!

A few days ago, I went to the grocery and there were too many cars so I went to M&M and bought two packets of family sized meals: cabbage rolls and canneloni. I cooked both - turning on the oven, might as well. They were actually good and a nice change from veggies and chicken. Never would I have spent the time/energy to make them.

I also noticed as I left M&M, a new tiny restaurant, so stopped to see what it was about. "Watts Cookin" had frozen meals and a take-out menu so I bought frozen Swedish meatballs and came home happy with it all. Supporting local businesses is terrifically important up in the boonies. And the new lockdown has begun. Fortunately I found 4 more books at the thrift shop the other day!

Yesterday at 6 pm, I was elated that everything I deemed necessary had been thrown! Today, I am waiting for the energy to fix a minor thing in the kiln, then glaze and fill the kiln and watch it carefully for correct firing. And trim yesterdays pots so they can dry for firing in a few days.

I never dreamed when I went to Toronto for the fresh clay that I would be so long getting things done but there have been at least two total do-nothing days and several days when I cannot get going until noon or so. Like today (11:30)!

The ground has thawed enough to pull some grass out of beds, on sunny days. From today on it will be mostly above freezing! Daffies are up a few inches. It would be nice if they bloom before I leave! No sign of life in the large mock orange; hope!

I finally "met" on FB my #2 son's new significant other. She posted a bunch of wonderful pics of him from his Birthday (1 April). To see him looking ever so happy is the greatest gift. He is still in the throes of divesting himself of 30 years of basically emotional abuse by the mother of his children. She started the relationship and he could not figure out how to end it; I raised him to be too darned nice! I hope this lasts and I can be assured that both my sons are happy.

A beautiful day out there and a bit above freezing. I cannot push myself; will wait until the body decides to get up and get at it.

I am bemused by Alexa! I feel lucky to have electricity! When a friend messaged this morning about a power outage up the road, I started thinking about how to keep pots from freezing! But we are OK here. I think we refer to those things on the stove/cooker/range as burners regardless; I have had to think about it!

In addition to the dearth of energy and some difficulty with numbers and simple math - cannot subtract! - I lose words. Imaging holding an object in your hand and trying to think what to name it. Go away and come back to write down "funnel"! The trick is not to try, but let it go until it surfaces.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 04:37 PM

My dogs have my ex trained well. He came by this afternoon with some salmon skin in a plastic baggie from out of the freezer that he brought to share with them. It was left from a recent salmon dinner.

I bought a bag of unsalted roasted peanuts because I keep a large Tupperware bin of the nuts in the shell as a treat for them, so sometimes when he stops by I hand over the bin and he gives them peanut treats.

The pounding in of fence posts got some revision after I thought about how far back I was locating the new pile. I don't critters getting into it and my first placement of stakes would have had the back edge into the hot zone for the collars. So I've moved it forward about 4 feet to the dog path will go behind it. I can get metal tent pegs at Academy Sports to work my way around the bottom of the fencing to stake the wire to the ground. There will be some reuse involved as I take old wood fence slats and run them around the inside of the fencing to also reinforce that base. They'll rot into compost soon enough.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 01:28 PM

Following the example of Stilly River Sage,
I switched from the readily available brand of shampoo
and shopped around for
an organic junk-ingredient-free shampoo that soothes the scalp.

Only one shampoo and rinse, and there's already a difference.
It wasn't just the veritable squalls of dandruff
descending upon my clothes,
it was the awful itching, to the point of burning, in the scalp.

It feels so much better when my scalp doesn't itch like that.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 03:12 PM

It sounds like you're allergic to an ingredient. What kind did you find? Right now my two step process is to wash with a little liquid tincture of greensoap, then using a bar of Middle Eastern olive oil based soap after (the wash, rinse, repeat method.) If you use it, don't use very much, and I tend to use it every other shampoo. Here is the breakdown from Drugs.com

Ingredients: Rosin 2.47g in 100mL, Potassium Hydroxide 5.961g in 100mL, Alcohol 24.93g in 100mL
or
Active ingredient: Ethyl alcohol, 30%, The rest: water, potassium soap, glycerin and lavender oil.

I'm almost all of the way around this year's compost bin, reinforcing the bottom of the chicken wire with a thick wire that was once part of a sign, then pounding in tent stakes. I'm in for a late lunch and figuring out how to open and close it, and when it is closed, keeping the dogs out of it closed.

One it is in place I'll start mowing in the back and dumping the mower bag into the new space, then empty both kitchen waste buckets that have gone way too long without emptying. More lawn clippings on top, and then when the front gets mowed I'll just mulch, not catch clippings. I also need to put the dead twiggy branches on the ground and go over them with the mower to break up the bulk. This is probably more than one afternoon's task.

But the point of struggling with this compost now is so I have a place to put all of the stuff from the new garden once it's tilled. After the tilling up there I'm going to take my tiny little tiller given me by the neighbors (I refurbished it last year) and break up all of the old compost piles around the back yard. The weeds from on top of those piles will go in the new compost and the broken up bits will go into the wheelbarrow and out to the new gardens in front. I had all of these tasks to do and had to figure out the lynchpin to the whole thing. And that lynchpin is the new compost enclosure.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 03:45 PM

Thanks, Stilly, I pulled out the bottle and it's next to the computer now, looking at the label, which says a quantity of things. For instance:

"NO parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, petrolatum, sulfates, mineral oils, artificial colors, or artificial fragrances."

The brand is "Derma E [trademark]" made in Simi Valley, California. "Scalp Relief Shampoo."

The label extols the virtues of a proprietary herbal blend:
Neem, burdock, bearberry, also Tea Tree oil and Menthol.

A further breakdown of ingredients, from most to least quantity.
Water. Three things I'm not going to attempt.
Glycerin. Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.
Willow Bark Extract.   Sodium Chloride (hey! even I know what THAT is).
Salicylic Acid. Menthol. Tea Tree leaf oil. Arctium Lappa root extract.
Chamomile flower extract. Uva-Ursi leaf extract.
The names are getting grandiose again so I'll stop... here.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 04:03 PM

That sounds pretty good! I have to go for as little sodium laurelth sulfate and that mix of things - they're derived from coconut.

I pulled up the file that I keep and need to update - there is an incomplete list of things in shampoo, soap, face creams, etc. with coconut.

Coconut-derived products can cause contact dermatitis.
They can be present in cosmetics, including some shampoos, moisturizers, soaps, cleansers and hand washing liquids.
Those known to cause contact dermatitis include:
coconut diethanolamide,
cocamide sulphate,
cocamide DEA,
CDEA,
sodium laureth sulfate
sodium lauroyl sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
ammonium lauryl sulfate
sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
potassium coco hydrolysed collagen
triethanolamine laureth sulfate
caprylic/capric triglycerides
triethanolamine lauryl sarcosime
triethanolamine cocoyl sarcosime
disodium oleamide sulfocuccinate
laureth sulfasuccinate
disodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate
isopropyl palmitate


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 06:21 PM

Well, see, I didn't tell you everything ...
there are a bunch of things in the ingredients list that
looking at the names made my eyes cross, so
I just left them off.
With my luck, some of the unmentionables in the ingredients
will be on your dermatitis/coconut list.

I pulled the bottle over to the computer monitor screen again.
Let's see what I left out, especially those that
are in higher amounts
(towards the beginning of the list).

After "Water":

Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine
Cocamidopropylamine Oxide

"Glycerin"

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Glyceryl Laurate

followed by
Epilobium Angustifolium ... etc etc

This sounds like more of a chemical stew.
And some of those names
look like they belong on the coconut/dermatitis list.
That said, this stuff makes my scalp feel better than my former brand made it feel.

I'm looking up some of the herbal bits.   

Epilobiaum Angustifolium --   Canadian Willowherb
Arctium Lappa Root       --   Burdock

"Neem" is the Sanskrit name for a highly medicinal plant,
famous for its bitter taste and cooling effect.
In the Latin nomenclature:
Melia Azadirachta Extract (that's what it says on the shampoo label)

"Uva Ursi" turns out to be    Bearberry Leaf extract.
And way at the bottom of the list is
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf juice ...   yep, Aloe Vera.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 07:15 PM

All of those things with "coco" in them are coconut, so I would avoid them. But the further down the list they are, the better, and keeping out some of the big baddies (that you listed before) is probably what is making a difference for you - my guess. There's a reason a lot of those things are already out of shampoos and cream rinse.

The next compost bin has been assembled and this year is 4' tall with a single tall roll of fencing. I imagine Cookie will try to push over the wire and walk up it; there is a heap of chicken wire (an old roll) sitting on top of the grass and compost slurry right now, and I sprinkled some hot pepper flakes around the perimeter of the bin. I mowed the back with the grass catcher and piled grass to create a mound that I hollowed out a crater to pour in the buckets of broken-down table scraps. When covered with several more bags of clippings I can't smell anything but grass, but I'm sure those canine noses have sorted out exactly what I did.

After mowing I'm really close to my day's fitness tracker goal so I may take the dogs for a walk before dinner. This time of year I'm more likely to occasionally meet the goal.

After all of the yard work the house can use some attention. With the nice weather and longer days it feels like time to do some spring cleaning.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 10:09 AM

I need to buy one more longer metal post to put in the front middle of the compost bin; the pup did indeed try to collapse the side, and though she didn't get in I reinforced the shorter fence post with a second short one stuck in over the top of it but it's a wobbly answer. I may have something around the yard I can use. I have a couple of really tall heavy-duty metal fence posts but I'd need to take a ladder out back to stand on to try to pound it in. I'm not sure why I have two such tall ones, some long-ago yard project.

My morning self was pleased to see the clean sink and silicone sink mats (run through the dishwasher last night) and the last of the household trash ready to go out to the curb this morning.

I'm going to go through that Martha Stewart Living list (linked in a post here on April 1) to kick start my spring cleaning. I put the old A/C filters out at the curb this morning, and next come the dusting of the ceiling fans. Over the winter I bought myself a specialized microfiber duster to use on them or other out-of-reach dusty spots, so I'll make that my second chore. She had several other good ones.

The back yard looks great; I didn't do the small stuff (trimming) but the big things, the mowing and the compost, give me a new lease on my yard work. Today, mowing in the front. Indoors, this weekend I cleared out stuff stacked in the entrance to the front (eBay) room and now I can move around easily to put up some new listings (evening project).


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 10:42 AM

Today I feel crappy after having awakened coughing at zero dark awful. Two shots of Ventolin later, I sorta dozed off, but the rest of the night was unpleasant.

This is what I get for taking a nice, invigorating stroll to (and from) the BIL's house yesterday for a Paschal lamb dinner. Apparently, my immune system dislikes the great clouds of tree pollen currently blowing around town.

The last of of Edmund's professional books left the house on Saturday, claimed by a retired judge (once Edmund's colleague) who is writing a book on military justice in Canada. I think he and his wife expected to spend about an hour at my house, allowing for a little polite chat before packing the books into wine boxes, but more than four and a half hours whizzed by before the conversation slowed down enough for any of us to check the clock. We are all that starved for new people to talk with.

The garbage went out on time and I have recovered the green bin (organics for composting) and the blue box (recyclables). So now I'm going back to bed, with a book.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Apr 21 - 09:59 PM

Your afternoon going over the books sounds charming - and I think so many of us are finding that those conversations are precious and packed full of thoughts that haven't have an outlet for a long time.

I was fairly lethargic today, not a stuffed up head like usually happens after yard work (I wore a mask as I worked yesterday) but I was definitely worn out after such a busy day. Alternating days of yardwork will be my approach until I get back into shape.

There was an audiobook in my phone that I kept getting sidetracked from starting and it was due today, so I sewed this afternoon and listened to several hours before it turned itself off and returned itself to the digital bookshelf where someone else was waiting for it. I've put myself back in line to finish it (and turn it in promptly upon finishing so I don't hog it again). And I checked out another one to read (they don't have the audio book this time) using Overdrive on my Amazon Fire. It's nice to be able to get these things from home, but I do miss regular trips to the library.

Dorothy, I'm glad you were able to reschedule your vaccine closer to home. There was a very interesting story on The World (public radio) about a Canadian drug manufacturer trying to get permission to make vast quantities of the vaccine for Canada. I posted the story here in the Check In Mudcatters Worldwide thread. I posted the entire story transcription there in case people can't listen to it online outside the US.

My dentist is retiring this week and I'm really sad at that prospect, so I called to ask when he'll be there. They've kept his schedule light because they know people will be dropping in, so I will go by and take over a parting gift of a tomato plant. He, like me, is a gardener, and I can't think of a more practical offering. This has to have been the weirdest final year of a lifetime of being a dentist, with the office closed for a while and then terribly restrictive.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 06 Apr 21 - 08:08 AM

With any luck, it will be warm enough to take our tune session outside this week. Apart from that, life is a bit bleak in the new lockdown, especially when I’m not feeling entirely the thing.Yesterday’s asthma attack is still receding.

But the fridge is innocent of ready-use food, I’m down to my last orange, and I promised to bring ice cream for the BIL’s birthday dinner tomorrow, so grocery shopping must happen.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Apr 21 - 05:56 PM

Today's errands were part of one of those multi-pronged plans that involved more back-and-forth trips than usual, but most of it went as planned. It was just so damned windy that you had to hold tight to whatever you wanted at those garden centers, and when driving make sure not to get pushed out of your lane.

The news at our house is that Cookie has finally killed a squirrel. There was a possibility I could save it until she stopped running and shook it. That was the beginning of the end, with it's back broken. I finished it off with a rock and tossed it into the creek behind the house. Sometimes I put roadkill in the bare area over on the other side of the road for the vultures, but since they cleared and mowed it isn't as easy to leave things in a clearing (and right now the area is waist-high in wild mustard).

Fingers crossed my friend with the tiller is here tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 10:33 AM

That dog must have quite a turn of speed if she can run down a squirrel, Stilly. Or do you think maybe the squirrel was -- shall we say -- not the sharpest knife in the drawer? Maybe the other squirrels were ready to leave her on an ice floe (if Texas had such a thing)? Most cats, even accomplished hunters, don't even bother to chase a squirrel; they're too fast, and they rarely venture far from their home tree. Of course, that doesn't stop cats from chittering when they see a squirrel, or doing their best to give a squirrel a good, solid heart attack.

No tune session. The new lockdown now comes with a stay-at-home order. Crap.

Since my respiratory system is more compliant today, I shall decide I know what I'm doing and go prune the hydrangeas. The BIL's birthday dinner is still on, and people who live alone are still allowed to visit their bubble household, so I have that to look forward to.

Otherwise, lots of nada. Fortunately, the house is still full of books.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 11:47 AM

Charmion, are you wearing a mask when you work outside? My friends came to till yesterday evening and we were all wearing masks; as much to keep the pollen out as the dust. The wind has been gusting at about 20mph for the last couple of days so no COVID germs would land on any of us, but the ground is littered with anthers from the oak trees.

There is a fatal flaw in the tree exit strategy that the local squirrels devised last summer. Since the baldcypress is adjacent only to a smaller Mexican plum, there is nowhere to flee via the aerial avenues. The pine branches stretch to within about 10 feet of the baldcypress; the boles are about 20 feet apart. The squirrels get tired of staying in the tree (the dogs will sit under it for hours waiting for the squirrel to move) and one of them tried a new move - get a run off of the end of one of the longest lower cypress branches (they aren't flying squirrels, but they get some good momentum), hit the ground running, and up the pine tree within about 5 feet. I've seen them do this myself, and they land with a "thud" that is momentarily not forward motion.

These dogs study the situation, and Cookie did the math. The squirrel "thud" was the point where she caught it. I had opened the door and usually that was enough distraction for the squirrel to escape, but Cookie knows that trick so she kept her eye on the squirrel. Once she grabbed it (lots of grunts and squeals from the rodent) she had to keep going so Pepper wouldn't grab the squirrel from her. They'd raced around the outside of the cyclone fence kennel before she paused to shake and drop it. I imagine she was getting quite a struggle from the squirrel up to that point.

I didn't look close but didn't notice telltale signs of this being a mama squirrel and the balls on the males are quite prominent, you can't miss them. So this seems to have been a young adult female. Weighing about five pounds, healthy until she met Cookie.

Yesterday at Goodwill I bought a couple of the acrylic insulated cups (clear, two layers, air in between) with the silicone-lined twist-on lid and hole for an acrylic straw. Through breakage I've been reduced to having only two of them and I keep losing track of them around the house, so the executive decision to add a couple of more cups will be offset by the realization that there are art pottery mugs in my cupboard that are never used and need to be offered to the kids or listed on eBay.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Apr 21 - 06:36 PM

The fence pickets are now treated with wood preservative, and an hour of that has my back aching! I cleaned out the garage last weekend so it was easier to get to stuff I needed, though there is more clearing to do. I need to poke around in all corners to see if I have any tall fence posts, before I make a trip to buy one more.

I was going to take a bunch of cardboard to the recycle bin, but have decided instead to use it under mulch for paths in the vegetable garden. I may even end up doing a reverse-recycle and retrieving boxes from those bins.

This is a good time of year for this work, it's warmer and lighter, but it also affects the mood, makes it easier to get out to stuff. I'm going to continue to wear the homemade masks while I do this outside work, it saves on the sinus headaches and medications. Who knew, something helpful that came out of COVID-19, more mask wearing helps defeat pollen. ;-)


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