Category Archives: My Homeplace

Update for all to SEE

Since his laser surgery on December 23 for Retinal detachment, Jeff is slowly getting better.

He is seeing fewer white streaks and flurries of black floaters.

Retinal detachment describes an emergency situation in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen and nutrients. Retinal detachment is often accompanied by flashes and floaters in your vision. Photo: http://www.mayoclinic.org/

I mentioned this frightening experience just before Christmas in a post called

Do you see what I see

He has a follow-up appointment in a couple of days. All of this experience has been especially troubling because Jeff has sight in only one eye.

The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater the risk that you will go blind. The warning signs of retinal detachment include the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes and reduced vision. Contacting an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) right away can help save your sight.

What did they do to Jeff?

Small holes and tears are treated with laser surgery. The procedure was performed in the doctor’s office. During laser surgery tiny burns are made around the hole to “weld” the retina back into place.

Read more about Retinal detachment.

This is just an update. Now you can go back to praying for world peas.

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It’s still Christmas, for Christ’s sake!

Christmas ain’t over. Any woman who just gave birth knows that. This is just the beginning.

I don’t get why you shut down, turned off and boxed up Christmas. I choose to keep Christmas just a little longer. It’s now time for the 12 days of Christmas.

If you go to a Catholic church, you know Christmas is really the beginning. It’s the Grand Opening of the holiday, not the grand finale. Christmas hymns, we are just getting started.

It took days, weeks, maybe even months, of wrapping, baking and planning. There were wishes to grant, ornaments to polish, and prayer lists to be prayed. Think of all those gifts to be made, ordered, mailed, hidden, wrapped, returned, eaten.

I’m still looking for that one perfect Christmas gift that I hid somewhere I would never forget and Jeff would never find it.

You don’t just box up the nativity set, blow out the candles, fold up the tree and walk away. The star of the show just arrived. It’s still Christmas, for Christ’s sake!

If you are one of those Keep Christ in Christmas folks, do that now. Charities are still accepting donations, folks are still homeless, hungry, cold, and someone you know is thinking about committing suicide tonight.

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Do you see what I see?

A Bright Christmas Story

He might not have seen this Christmas.

Jeff woke up concerned about his rapidly failing vision. He was seeing visions of white streaks and flurries of black rain.

This was the third day of these troublesome visions and he called the ophthalmologist. The entire Eye Center was out for the holidays until after the new year. But the receptionist could make an appointment for the following week. Would you like for me to make an appointment for January 6th for you?

Since he thought he was loosing his sight, waiting two weeks for an appointment, seemed too long. He went to Immediate Care because today the situation is very much worse. We can’t help you with that kind of thing, they said.

Neither of us said it out loud, but because we both have multiple sclerosis, we thought about the very real possibility of sudden blindness. Since he has sight in only one eye, we always worry about that. They could call the eye specialist who is on call… if you think we need to….

Yeah, why don’t you call, Jeff said. And we waited for a call. Finally, the “on call” doctor called back and said come in right now.

Jeff had one of the most thorough eye exams. Then, Doctor Tatyana I. Metelitsina came in, did some more exams, asked a number of questions and listened to Jeff’s every word. Retinal detachment is an emergency we learned.

By the time she had diagnosed the problem, the surgery room and equipment was ready and waiting. The doctor explained the problem. She told him what he was going to do, what to expect and asked if he had any questions.

Dr Metelitsina completed the laser surgery in a matter of minutes. It was her fourth surgery of the day. For four families, this Christmas really will be much more merry and bright.

Not every Christmas story ends wrapped up with a bow. But this one did.

After story:

The longer retinal detachment goes untreated, the greater your risk that you will go blind. The warning signs of retinal detachment include the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes and reduced vision. Contacting an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) right away can help save your sight.

Or, in other words, go with your gut. If you feel like you need medical care before the doctor’s office Christmas party, Get It. If your wife thinks you should quickly follow-up on a health care matter, do it before she tears of the head of the cute little receptionist who thinks you should wait two weeks.

May all your Christmases be bright.

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My Snow Angel

People will do crazy things when they are in love.

When we met, Jeff had just arrived from the sunny, sandy California coastline. Snow, rain, hail and blizzards were not part of his winter.

St Elizabeths Catholic Church Eureka Springs

We married in St Elizabeth’s Catholic church December 17, 1983.

We met in the wintertime, everything was romantic. We were in love. Our new-found love got wrapped up in the joy and frenzy of the winter holidays.

After Christmas, but before Valentine’s Day, there were days and days of snow. Beautiful, fluffy snow. Glittering and glistening snow sparkling like diamonds in the sun. I made the hot chocolate. With peppermint stirrer and tiny pink marshmallows.

Jeff bought his first snow shovel. The sidewalk and driveway cleared practically before the snow hit the ground. When he came in, there were crystal plates of heart-shaped sugar cookies or warm squares of gingerbread fresh from the oven.

We hung handmade birdseed pinecones in the trees. We sculpted snowmen every time it snowed. We made snow ice cream.

Were we live today.

Were we live today. Cozy home for snuggling because there are 3 fireplaces.

I’ve never been a fan of winter. But it was a wondrous time, spending every frosty minute together. Still, winter can get old and cold fast.

Jeff is from California. He’s not used to jump-starting cars, getting stuck in snow banks, chiseling ice off windshields.

Winter weather means Christmas Holidays, Anniversaries and another Happy New Year

Winter weather means Christmas Holidays, Anniversaries and another Happy New Year

His first big snowfall was fun and amazing. He laughed when he slipped and fell on the ice the first time. When a slushy snowball got chucked down his collar, it was not as much fun as it looks on tv.

Jeff hesitated when I suggested we make snow angels. I thought my California boyfriend didn’t know what a snow angel was. I was in love. He was a good sport.

My sweetheart made the snow angel and jumped up. Once was enough, no more snow angels. The joy and romance of snowy weather didn’t even last one winter.

Betterthan snow angels, anyday.

Better than snow angels, any day.

We went to the warm, sandy beaches of Florida every winter for the next ten years. I love him so much, I’ll never ask him to make another snow angel. He loves me so much that he would make snow angels if I asked.

33 years together so far. Married December 17, 1983.

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Wishbone Flower (Torenia hybrid)

Plant something new.

Wishbone Flower

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Torenia or Wishbone Flower, Catalina® Pink

Wishbone Flower as container plant

I grew the Midnight Blue variety. It looks so fragile, but it can really take the heat. This is a self-cleaning plant, which means no deadheading.

In the shady bed on the patio, it had room to spread out and filled in the space with continuous blooms and bright green leaves. I grew another color the next year.

The Catalina® Pink is a nonstop bloomer that gets afternoon shade on the front porch. It does best when consistently moist and well-drained. Hummers love it.

It’s growing with more sun, shaded only in the late afternoon. Growing bushy and full, Torenia is about 12″ tall and fills the 12″ self-watering container. Generously mulch this plant to help with consistent moisture.

Adaptable annuals

I like the wide range of ways I can use Torenias. In a hanging basket, Summer Wave® Large Blue Wishbone Flower seems to be a hummingbird favorite.

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Wishbone Flower fills the hanging basket with Summer Wave® Large Blue blooms.

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Wishbone flowers are more upright where there is more sun and less water.

Wishbone flowers have had no disease or insect problems in my gardens. They can take heat and more sun than I thought. Morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal.

Wishbone Flower (Torenia hybrid)

This plant is so much more versatile than I imagined. It was planted in shade, and in part shade – part sun. The low growing annual spreads out along the sidewalk, as a beautiful ground cover and splash of color that could compliment an endless variety of gardenscapes.

I like shopping at Independent Garden Centers. Money spent locally tends to stay local. The folks that work at the non-chain garden centers and nurseries know what they are talking about. Big box stores also have wishbone flowers.

This was a trial plant from Proven Winners. The Proven Winners website has a handy garden center locator. Just type in your zip code and it will find the closest local garden centers.

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Pollinators and hummers love this plant.

Get Local will help you find the information you need. I especially like their plant recipes. For example, I’m looking for red, white and blue plant combos. Just click on “patriotic” for lots of beautiful plant combinations.

Blooming summer til frost

I learned what a valuable landscape plant this is when I visited the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

Wishbone Flower (Torenia hybrid)

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

A leader of environmentally sound community development, the Arboretum is an educational, recreational and cultural resource for the Kansas City region. It offers homeowners, landscapers and arborists an opportunity to view and evaluate a wide variety of hybrid trees and shrubs, native to this area.
8909 W. 179 St.
Overland Park, KS 66013
913-685-3604

Wishbone Flower Catalina® Grape-O-Licious

Wishbone Flower Catalina® Grape-O-Licious

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“Living Large in Our Little House”

Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband, and One Remote--Plus More Stories of How You Can TooLiving Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband, and One Remote–Plus More Stories of How You Can Too by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book is a conversation with an expert about the practicalities and realities of small house living. Sure, it’s packed with information about local laws and regulations, legal considerations, and important contacts.

“Living Large in Our Little House” quickly dispatches the trivial. The legal or official definition of “tiny house” is not as important as how many square feet works for you. Kerri moves on to what you can afford, how much space you require to live comfortably and can you, your spouse, the kids and pets all actually live in a tiny house?

The size and location of your little house will be critical to making a dream come true for you. Kerri illustrates the realities of small space dwelling with several examples of folks who chose the same path. Learn from the people who build, design or live in tiny houses.

Living Large Tips studded throughout the book are lists of things to consider before you make the move to the tiny house life. These tips are good ideas to launch you into your own lists of what to keep and what to let go, what you will need versus what you want.

The book includes smart advice about ways to “test drive” the small house life before you make the investment. Do the research, locate the resources, have a plan. Be clear about your reasons for tiny house living.

This book will affirm your choice to live large in a tiny house or confirm that little house living is not for you. Read about real people living large in little houses. There are some very important questions you need to consider before buying or building a tiny house.

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell’s “Living Large in Our Little House: Thriving in 480 Square Feet with Six Dogs, a Husband and One Remote..and More Stories of How You Can, Too.” book is essential reading if a tiny house may be in your future.

View all my reviews

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Summer’s Surprise

Surprise lily

When I stopped by the Branson Candy Kitchen to visit Grandmother and Aunt Macy, it was a hot, clear Ozarks summer day threatening to reach 100 degrees again. Summer is the grand-daughter of Macy and the great-grand daughter of my grandmother.

Summer

Summer

Aunt Macy said “Summer, you remember your cousin, don’t you? This here is Patsy Kay, your cousin.”

“Hello Cousin”, Summer said. And then my cutest little cousin ran out the back door.

Grandmother and Auntie kept making pecan pralines while I sat in the company chair watching and talking. Every now and then, I was the beneficiary of an imperfect handmade praline.

You can’t sell the ugly ones. Everyone wants a beautiful praline. Yes, I ate the ugly pralines, the things you do for family…

surprise liliesSummer ran in the door with a hand full of Nekked Ladies and thrust them at me. “Surprise! Here cousin. Flowers for you!”

Oh! Thank you, Summer.

What are they cousin?

I’m sitting right in front of MY grandmother and I am not about to tell this cute little three year old that those flowers are called Naked Ladies.

You know the answer to that, Summer. You told me when you walked in the door: Surprise! They are Surprise Lilies.

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Surprise lilies easily multiply creating more bulbs to share.

You mean Nekked Ladies?, said Grandma. We all burst into little girl giggles.

And so, sweet Summer, every year when these bold lilies pop up, I’ll always think of you. One more thing, Thank you for the Surprise Lilies.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 8/2015

GBBD August 2015

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Moonflower Ipomoea alba just before bloom

Moonflower Ipomoea alba just before bloom.

Moon flowers are blooming wildly on these hot August nights.

A harsh winter and long rainy spring took its toll on spring blooms and my roses. But now, in the peak of production and seed making, many flowers are blooming with endless enthusiasm.

zinnia and nicotimia

zinnia and nicotinia

 

 

 

My zinnias have been the show off flowers this summer. Using galvanized watering cans, I’ve fill bucket of the back with zinnia arrangements. All the flowers are from a few packets of seed from Renee’s Garden.

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The Neked Ladies or Surprise lilies have multiplied every year, becoming thicker and more beautiful.Surprise Lily

Since I am the only southerner in our home, okra seldom makes it into the garden. My husband, Mr TD&H, helpfully weeded all the okra seedlings out of the garden every year.

I love okra’s big, soft yellow flowers, so, I planted a few seed in the flower beds. The variety is over 8′ tall and steadily producing. Picked small, okra makes the best refrigerator pickles.

Make an extraordinary dish like authentic New Orleans Gumbo and even my California Dreamer will eat okra. Occasionally. Try my version of fried okra.

White Gladioli and purple Zinnias

White Gladioli and purple Zinnias

I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth Lawrence. In her book, she wrote: “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”
As she signed my much used copy of the book, she said she was pleased that someone was actually putting the book to good use.

 

 

 

Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

It’s fun. GBBD ends up being a journal of your garden’s year round floral display.

Nicotiana alata

Little white trumpet flowers, Nicotiana alata are popping up where they please. They have volunteered from last years plants.

The old faithful geraniums, marigolds and nasturtium just keep on blooming nonstop. Rose of Sharon’s, Hydrangea and hibiscus are all in full bloom.

There is more, but you have other blogs to read and I need to water my flowers.

Thank you for stopping by. My garden is in southeast Missouri, zone 6b. There are porch chairs on every side of the house. The sun tea is brewing on the patio.

Stop by anytime to sit in the shade and have a cool drink. Should you be so inclined, there is also a pruner, a weeder and a watering can o each side of the house.

Snowed in with home grown tomatoes

My front yard.

My front yard. Photo by Jeff Hobson

A foot of snow does not seem like a lot if you are living in the east. And we have only had a couple of snows so far. I was delighted to be snowed in, with heat, electricity and my sweetheart. We could have gotten out in an emergency. But it is fun to be snowed in.

Whole tomatoes were frozen while at the peak of ripeness.

I filled the crock pot with frozen tomatoes. It was so full, the lid couldn’t fit firmly. As the tomatoes cooked down, I skimmed off the peels and the cores.

To the thawing tomatoes, add a coarsely chopped onion and a couple crushed cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper if you choose.

Next, decide where to go with the tomatoes. Mexican or Italian are my choices.

Turn the heat on high, leave the lid ajar to reduce the water content. Break up  tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Later, when the tomatoes have cooked down by half, use and immersion to blend as much or a little as you prefer. I decided to go for an Italian spaghetti sauce. As the tomatoes cooked down, I added a frozen cube of roasted garlic* and a couple of cubes of pesto.*

This is where I get creative and make this sauce Italian, by adding herbs and spices.

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil..

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil.

 

*Cube of roasted garlic* and a cube of pesto.* In the summer when we had a huge harvest of garlic, I roasted the cured garlic, mashed it up with a little salt and olive oil. Then, I put the roasted garlic paste in  a silicone tray of mini ice-cube shapes and froze them.

*Homemade pesto, minus the cheese, was made and filled plastic ice-cube trays and frozen.

These little frozen cubes of gourmet delights are stored in ziplock freezer bags, labeled and dated.

 

Tomato triage for too many tomatoes

When there is no time to can tomatoes in the heat of summer, freeze the whole tomatoes individually and store in a freezer. When tomato overload gets too hot and hectic in August, chill.

Slow cooked pasta sauce made by cooking your home-grown tomatoes and herbs on a cold winter day, priceless. 

Happy New Year

Sunrise salute 2015

Sunrise over Saint Louis Photo PBH

Sunrise over Saint Louis
Photo PBH

January 2015 – Cape Girardeau, MO USA

How to celebrate the New Year.

Instead of trying to squeeze out every last moment of 2014, the celebration starts at sunrise January 1, 2015.

I’d rather be there at the beginning of the new year to greet the day and welcome the sun. Jeff and I will be in downtown Cape Girardeau by the Mississippi River. Bring a lawn chair and a thermos of steamy coffee, cappuccino, or hot chocolate. There are always a few folks who have braved the frozen morning to see the sun rise over the Mississippi.

If I weren’t bundled up like the Michelin Man, I might try the yoga version of the Sunrise Salutation. (Saving this idea for Maui.)

Just standing there, huddling in a blanket is OK. The sun rises precisely as predicted. In Cape Girardeau, sunrise is 7:12 a.m. It’s a pretty short day, only 9 hours and 38 minutes long, if you care to salute the day at the beginning and the end.

Get help to figure out sunrise at Sunrise and Sunset Calculator or Tomorrow’s Weather Forecast for Sunrise Or just Google it.

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Ice floating on the Mississippi. Photo PBH

It is a rare few that show up. The celebration is quiet. So quiet in fact, I can hear my husband’s teeth chattering.

No cheering or party horns here. Everyone is left alone to offer a welcome nod of the head or a silent prayer. Greeting the new year at sunrise is a peaceful event.

As a gardener, it just makes more sense to start the New Year on a sunny note. If I weren’t at the river, I think I might be outstanding in my field. Or, possibly in the healing herb garden.

It is also a good time to share your intentions for the year with the new sun. If you make resolutions, making the pact at the beginning of the day seems right. Tell that good old sun your resolutions. Or, even whisper them to that old Mississippi River.

Honestly, it’s over in a flash, I’m pretty sure no one has ever frozen to death in the few glorious moments of sunrise. There is a McDonald’s between our house and the river so the bribe of a breakfast sandwich and a cup of cocoa may be enough to get your partner out of bed. Or, in our case, the promise not to stop at McDonald’s is incentive enough.

That’s it. Jeff and I greet the New Year standing hand in hand at sunrise. Surely that’s Good Luck. Our year begins with gratitude. We pray for another blessed year.

The New Year’s launch party is complete. You can head home and put the black-eyed peas to soak. Or, go back to bed until the Rose Bowl Parade.

 

Print Rose Parade used to march right past the Hobson’s house in Pasadena, CA. All 11 Hobson kids got to see the parade from their own front yard years ago. In 2015, the parade begins at 8:00 a.m., PST. We watch it on TV and can almost spell the roses.

Access The 126th Rose Parade and the official ROSE PARADE PROGRAM or download the ROSE PARADE APP for mobile tablets in the Apples iTunes Store.

 

Black eyed peas for dinner

Our dinner is simple home cooked food and very nearly the same every year. Black eyed peas are the star of the table. Really, we’ll be having purple hulled peas from the local farmers market.

Ham is on the table, not chicken or turkey. We eat ham on New Years Day because a hog roots forward and a turkey or chicken scratches back. Learn why we eat this food every January 1st and why we feel lucky to have it. Just click below ↓.

Why black-eyed peas are good luck

These Black Eyes are purple hull peas grown locally

These Black Eyes are purple hull peas grown locally

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