Hanging on to my hat!

It is a whirlwind around here! Harvest season is always intense, and this year it is even more intense than most. Attila started the garden during the lock-down, while he was laid off work and had time and enthusiasm. It is the most ambitious garden yet. He has been back to work for months now, but the garden doesn’t know that, and is going like gangbusters. I am canning almost every day and other from-scratch activities in the kitchen haven’t lessened during this busy time.
Saturday: Swiss Chard blanched and frozen
Sunday: Tomatoes canned
Monday: Zucchini-Pineapple canned
Tuesday: Tomatoes canned
Wednesday: Dill Slices canned
Thursday: Breakfast Buns baked & filing (still working on the mail that backed up through March/April/May/June)
Friday: planning on canning tomatoes, and milling whole wheat flour

The Swiss Chard has been very successful this year. I began to enjoy it for sauteed lunches in late June, and it has been producing ever since. So far we have blanched and frozen 18 packets for winter meals, and anticipate at least nine more packets will be harvested and processed before the snow flies.
I know that it can be canned, but I’ve never tried canned greens, and am not sure I would like them. Greens would need to be pressure canned, which I find is a lot more work than freezing, so for now the Swiss Chard is going into the freezer.

I anticipate that I will be canning most days until November. The canner is seldom full, usually only three jars, which is the beauty of the steam canner, so easy to do small loads. It is great to reach the ideal of canning produce fresh, as it comes in from the garden. The steam canner sits on the stove during harvest season, it isn’t worth putting it away since it will be used again the next day.

The basement organization is progressing very slowly. I think I have the containers organized. Containers are such a big deal for home food preservation, they take up a lot of space whether they are full or empty. I think they are now setup so that if I need something I won’t have to look for it, I’ll know where it is, and I can quickly go and get it.

So that is the food pantry area organized, but not complete until harvest time is over, and the container area organized. But there is a lot more to organize down there! I work on it in fits and starts, as I take breaks from canning, freezing, and dehyrdrating.

Although it is insanely busy in the kitchen right now, I know when the pace slows I will miss this frenzy of activity.

The flowers continue to bloom in the garden. The Nasturtium has come into its own, but is hidden from view by the Borage, a design error that will be addressed next spring. For now it blooms in quiet privacy. The Heliopsis is still in heavy bloom, a huge burst of sunshine yellow, six feet in the air. Another burst of sunshine further into the heavens is the Sunflower, nine or ten feet up in the air. I love the Sunflower leaves for the way that they wave playfully in even the slightest breeze. The last Gladiolus is blooming. It had been beaten down by the rain and high winds yesterday, so it was cut and brought into the house where it cheers the kitchen. The Scarlet Runner Beans are magnificent this year, particularly those planted in the raised bed. Every morning the Hummingbirds hover and play around the scarlet blooms. And the bonus is tasty green beans for the table and freezer. Our Morning Glories grew and climbed the pea netting, but they have not bloomed. Attila feels they need a shadier location.

The last Gladiolus of the season, and it is a beauty!
I bought six bulbs from the Dollar Store in the spring of 2019. That summer only five of them came up, and they did not thrive due to mildew. This summer eight of them came up, three new plants. I sprayed the newly emerged leaves with insecticidal soap, which controlled the mildew. All of the plants bloomed, lovely blooms that were different shades of pink.
We make our own insecticidal soap using filtered water and Dawn dish detergent, it seems to work for some issues, like mildew, and flea beatles, but wasn’t effective for aphids.


We don’t think about this situation all the time, it is just always there, lurking in the shadows. I think many, many people have worries related to current events, we are two of many.

Over the last few weeks Attila did a fall planting in the garden, of Cabbages, Spinach, and Kohlrabi. I have my fingers crossed about the the Kohlrabi, having discovered that I love it. We cannot buy Kohlrabi at the grocery store where we order our food for pickup, which is so very disappointing.

Attila continues to go to work daily, but the toll it takes on him increasingly concerns me. He begins the week well enough, but by Monday evening his spirit is dampened, by the end of the week he is a faded version of himself, exhausted, wilted. They have lost staff where he works, many workers over 65 with pensions chose not to return after the lock down in March. Attila has been under tremendous pressure to increase his workload to compensate for the company being short staffed, taking up additional tasks, not being allowed to work overtime to accomplish it all, which is tiring. He also needs to wear a mask, which he does, he wears it all the time. He has health issues that make mask wearing exhausting. And then there is stress, since so many of his younger coworkers are not following protocol with their masks, not bothering with them at times… the self-centered, heartless little beasts that they are. (Did I say that unkind thing… wow, I guess this is bothering me more than I thought!) The diligence needed to keep himself safe is very wearing. All in all, by the end of the week, Attila comes home to sit on the back porch, wearily staring into the sky, on a Friday evening after work. He bounces back eventually, but it seems to take longer and longer as the weeks go by. I think our government has abandoned consideration for older workers.

Quite frankly the situation feels like a Dickens novel: ““If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do itand decrease the surplus population.” Perhaps that sentiment never really disappeared from the echelon’s of the “successful”.

Well that is the terrible part of life at the moment, it could be worse, as at present we thankfully have our health, as precarious as that seems at times. We carry on as if our efforts will allow us to survive the pandemic.


Stay safe dear friends!



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 3 September 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.3°C
Dew point: 18.4°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: SSW 27 km/h
Humidex: 29
Visibility: 24 km


“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning… a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
Joseph Campbell
1904 – 1987

Something to remember as we live through “interesting times”.

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Joan Lansberry

It’s a shame Attila can’t retire, that ordeal sounds exhausting! (Especially when they want him to increase production speed, way too hard!) Good quote by Campbell! It’s needed for mental health these days, I think.


Hi Maggie. Been awhile. I love your life. It’s a life I often dreamed of. Glad that you can be so industrious with the canning and food prep. Healthy living!

Reading about Attila brought tears to my eyes. The fact that he can not work over time is shocking during these questionable times. I wish he could retire as your friend mentioned.

Masks are so necessary and there are so many who just refuse to either believe that or are just to selfish. I rarely go out but when I do I wear a mask. Hubby does all the shopping and he also wears a mask. We have many. Different styles etc. because I did not know what was comfy. The masks with the loops over the ears will guarantee me Dumbo ears so I finally found a mask on Amazon that has elastic that goes around the neck and up over the head. Hard to imagine but very comfy and a better fit than most.

Take good care and hugs to you and Attila

Steve-Paul (SP) Simms

Just a couple of Swiss chards in love. Apologies to Norm Hacking. Very beautiful gladiolus, lovingly photographed.
Good fortune to you and Attila with your work and health challenges. Reading a new book called Breath by James Nestor, which among other things recommends the value of sleeping with a piece of tape over your mouth. It won’t stop you opening your mouth if you need to, but it acts as a mnemonic to remind people to nose-breathe. And breathe less! Anyway, we have found it useful and are getting improved sleeps and clearer passages, though I know breathing issues are very complex. Check out a video maybe.


Hello Maggie, and other friends….I made a decision yesterday about my Christmas present for Meredith. I had completed the base of her Afghan…I did not like the trim I had crocheted…the corners were all “caddie-wonkers ….not sure that is an actual word, but none of the corners were right, in my mind. So, I began the mindless task of removing and balling the yarn. I think it is called “frogging?” Anyway, it is coming out to be about 5 skeins of yarn. It is reusable, but I think I am going to edge it with a different color and pattern. I manage to mess up my corners often, which ticks me off. I am a better crocheter than this. I made this without a pattern…the actual Afghan is really pretty, and now I just need to make a better edge. The edge will be about 5-6 inches wide, should make it really pretty. I like afghans made with a solid stitch…no holes for your toes to stick through. It is also warmer. So, unless it takes me weeks to finish removing the current edging, hopefully I will be designing and crocheting the trim by tomorrow. It is important that I finish hers by Christmas. She has one that I made her when she was in high school. But, the boys and grandsons already have theirs. I may have Mike help me. He enjoys making dog collars, leashes, bracelets from para cord, so he will probably be more than happy to help me with this mindless task. He always laughs at me when I will frog several inches of work because I missed a stitch. He doesn’t think anyone would notice…I have to explain that I will know! We are having a break in our 100 degree weather, thank goodness. And we are expecting rain again. God is good and tries to keep Mother Nature in line. My brother in Lake Charles is still without power or water. The National Guard has set up a hot shower tent…they are rationed to 3 day a week use. Some more bad news for my family…my favorite brother-in-law ( my sister’s husband who died 9 years ago)…he is 82 and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and kidney cancer. This makes our third cancer DX in the last few months. I suppose this is how family’s decline as we all grow older. Prayers are welcome. Love your flowers and the color…so beautiful. Take care, stay safe, and sane. xxoo…..m


Dear Maggie,
Hi. I meant to get back before this but my health got in the way. I have not been well for quite awhile but feel hopeful now that I am learning about the microbiome in the human body and gut health.

We are holding up ok in this sudden world of limitations. Inwardly depressed that folks do not see the smarter routes to take to avoid more deaths from COVID. I really don’t know how one could make it clearer that this virus is not a hoax, needs to be respected and caring for others simply by wearing a mask is huge. Sigh.

My family of 5 cockatiels withered away over the years. My last 15 year old companion, Spike died suddenly last April. It made me blue. I miss my little buddy but still have his parakeet companion; Billy to keep me company. I am considering getting Billy a buddy but I’m not in a hurry. Last spring Billy came down with a variety of problems that took 3 months and a grand to take care of. Luckily he is doing really well now and I am shocked his little body was able to manage all the stress and problems he had.

I still do my crafting and have my Etsy shops but they have been inactive for two years due to my own health problems. But there seems to be hope for a break through and a light at the end of the tunnel. I have missed myself!

Big Hugs to you too, Best Ever,