Sunday, November 25, 2012

The answer is NO

Nope.  It didn't happen.
I was hoping to lose weight over Thanksgiving week.  What WASSS I thinking???
And so it didn't happen.  But, however, on a good note, I didn't gain any weight over the week either.  Yeah!  My mass remained the same.

And, I even baked these little lovely cupcakes...

[Insert picture of chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing]

Alas, I cannot upload anymore pictures.  Google has cut me off again.  I have been resizing my photos so that they are way tiny (in KBs) for like a year now, but I still cannot even upload a tiny photo anymore.

So you'll just have to trust me on the cupcakes, they were awesome.  I normally don't like chocolate, I'm not a huge chocolate fan.  I know, I'm nuts.  But this time I made chocolate and loved it.

And I made the Thanksgiving dinner, and pumpkin pie, which was yummy.  And apple crisp, which was even yummier.

I've been attempting to keep my portion sizes down, so I'm still eating like crazy, just not eating too much.  And this week I'm attempting to lose 2 pounds.  Maybe 3.  I always say that.  Maybe this week it will happen.

...Or maybe not.  No biggie.  I've got to have my goals!

Now I'm going to see how to increase my capacity with Google, so that I can upload photos to this blog again.  I've been watching others struggle with this, and watching how they've all succeeded.  My turn, I guess, to make this hurdle. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is it possible to lose weight over Thanksgiving?

I recently returned from yet another trip.  I didn't think I ate terribly during the trip; however, the scale, my enemy, tells me I gained 2 pounds.  What's up with that?  I tell you, that ramen was worth it...

And now I'm facing Thanksgiving this week.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, in case I forget to say it later!

So, is it possible to actually lose weight this week?  Yes, I celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving, with turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and pies and the whole nine yards.  I love Thanksgiving.  What can I do?  I don't think it's possible to not gain weight this week.  So I'll just have to work harder next week to lose it, right?

But I'd like to attempt to lose 2 pounds this week.  I don't like to procrastinate.  I want to get started right now on this weight loss thing.  I have been working on losing about 15 pounds forever, for at least a year, maybe longer.  I lose maybe 5 or ten pounds, but then I gain it all back.  I go on crazy diets, remember my fruit and veggie diet?  And then I eventually quit the diet and eat too many desserts.  I love desserts.  I love to bake, I love to eat them.  It's my downfall.

I even am doing Insanity, a cardio weight loss program.  I love it!  I'm not losing weight, but I am getting in better shape, better condition, if I can stick to it.  But when I do Insanity, I need to eat more for energy, if I don't eat I get very tired.  When I first started Insanity I thought it's ok to eat anything, I'm working out like crazy.  But a month later I found that's not true, I still need to watch my diet.  I actually gained weight while doing Insanity.  So now I'm doing Insanity and attempting to eat healthy.  It's tough.

Those KitKats are always calling to me.  Did you know they have over 200 flavors of KitKats in Japan?  My goal is to try them all...  Orange/citrus is my favorite, with hotcakes coming in second. 

See?  There's my problem, I love sweets!  I was raised with Tastykakes (sorry Hostess, I don't love you, goodbye).    I love to bake cupcakes and other desserts, I love to try out new recipes.  And that means I need to eat the desserts, just to taste them, you see.

Do other people out there have this problem?  Should I just stop baking?  Baking makes me happy.  I've slowed down drastically with baking, but Christmas is just around the corner, I see it coming fast.  That means making Christmas cookies...  There's so many kinds, I need to make them all, to see how they turn out...  It cannot be avoided.

Is it possible to lose 2 pounds over Thanksgiving week?  I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The case of the new washer and the lost septic tank

A little while ago I got a new washing machine.  Yeah!  Life is good.  However, when it drained, it drained all over the floor!  Not so good.  It was installed properly.  Hmmm.  A plumber was contacted and came out.  His diagnosis was that the septic tank must be full.  It was just a coincidence that this happened at the same time that we got a new washer.  Bazaar.

And so Randy rigged the washer to drain outside.  A long pipe now runs from the washer out a window to the backyard.  You must be a redneck if your washing machine drains into your backyard...  At least I was able to wash clothes.  Thank goodness I have no neighbors.  There were no other plumbing issues other than the drainage of the washing machine. Toilets all flush fine, showers don't back up, dishwasher doesn't back up. 

Our house is a few hundred years old.  Who knows when the septic tank and plumbing was installed; it wasn't built with the house but installed "aftermarket".  All we know is that it has probably never been cleaned and now it was due for a good cleaning.  We looked all around the house for the septic tank, of course there were no drains, no nothing symbolizing a tank was there.  We heard many stories - people told us we'd see the outline of the tank in the grass, the grass wouldn't grow well overtop the tank, or the grass would grow very well in the area.  So we looked for areas with lots of green grass or little green grass, for an outline of the tank in the grass.  There was nothing like that- the grass was even in the entire yard.

So we called a septic tank specialist - he advertised that he specialized in locating lost septic tanks.  He looked in the basement where the plumbing pipes run underground.  We determined they run directly underneath the back porch, then, who knows where they go.  He walked around the backyard with a drill with a very long, very big drill bit, and drilled all around.  An hour later he gave up on locating the lost septic tank.  He explained it could be anywhere in the backyard, even in the woods.  He said the septic tank was probably installed by the homeowners and neighbors at the time.  He recommended we start digging up the backyard with a tractor to find it.  Great. 

So, we started digging in our spare time after our work was done at our jobs.  Now that the sun sets so early this meant digging in the yard in the dark.  We didn't use the tractor, just a shovel.  We started digging small holes all around the back porch, looking for pipes or the tank itself.  Eventually we found a plumbing pipe about 2 feet down.  Then we had to follow the pipe, and it led to the discovery of the missing septic tank!  Yeah!!  The tank is made of concrete, and luckily it has a small lid that can removed for cleaning out the tank.  We didn't unearth the entire septic tank, just enough to expose the lid.  We called the septic tank specialist back; he was excited to hear about the discovery of the missing tank and is coming out tomorrow to clean it.  I guess we'll have to mark the area where the lid is located for future cleaning.  

And tomorrow I will hook up my washing machine again.  Who knew that getting a new washing machine would lead to such work.  Such is life in an old house.  Next I'll have to tell you about how the well ran out of water one day a few weeks ago...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Post Hurricane Post

This week's Hurricane Sandy visit certainly wasn't planned, but the farm survived with minimum damage.  We weren't in the direct path of the hurricane, as we are located in MD and the storm directly hit NJ, but it was a large storm and the hurricane force winds and rains certainly hit us.

Before the storm I went up to NJ to pick up my mother, who was in the direct storm path.  Mom could have stayed with my sister, but Barb had a full house and I had an empty house.  And Barb was also directly in the storm's path.  And so we all hunkered down last Monday waiting for the storm to hit us.  We prepared with lots of food and water and flashlights.  The animals and humans, too, were all fed early so no one would have to eat dinner in the dark - in case we lost power.

The full force of the storm started hitting us in the late afternoon, early evening on Monday night.  It had been raining sheets of rain off and on all day.  Then the winds really started rolling all the trees around.  We live in the midst of the woods, so we were concerned about trees falling.

Benjamin the outside cat was very upset all day on Monday.  He was running around like crazy all day, he wouldn't settle down.  Mon afternoon he wouldn't eat his dinner.  Brindle the other outside cat didn't show up for dinner Mon afternoon.  She must have been hunkered down somewhere in the woods.  Benjamin slept on our side porch that night, staying dry and safe.

The chickens were soaked from being out in the rain all day.  I cleaned their coop Monday and turned on the heat lamp inside the coop to dry them.  They all came inside the coop and lined up on the roost underneath the heat lamp, loving the warmth and the clean straw.  The temperatures had really dropped and it was downright chilly, especially when you were wet.  The hurricane force winds and rain were blowing into the little chicken door, the door going outside to the chicken pen.  I hurried Penny hen into the coop - she's always the last one in - and closed the little chicken door, keeping the wind and rain out.  Penny was soaked to the bone, but she quickly settled down on a roost.  Penny is the most animated chicken these days, she always makes me laugh.

The guineas were my biggest concern.  They all flew up into the little red maple tree - their current nighttime roosting tree.  At 8pm I went out into the storm to check on them.  The trees were all whipping with the gusting winds, the rain was cold and was driven sideways by the wind.  I could see the guineas clinging for all their lives to the tree branches as the wind whipped and the rain pelted them.  Guineas look so small when they are soaking wet.  The branches were flying up and down, the guineas were hanging on, heads down and straight forward.  It looked like they were riding a roller coaster.  Sometimes the branches even flipped upside down in the wind, birds clinging only with their feet.  The poor guineas got no sleep that night!

I found several guineas who fell out of the tree during the storm.  They were walking round on the ground in the dark.  If a fox were to find them they'd be goners.  Although a fox was unlikely to be walking by during a hurricane!  I grabbed them one by one, they screamed bloody murder and fought to get away.  I hung onto them and put them into the empty side of the chicken coop.  At least those guineas had a quiet and dry night in the coop.   I checked on the guineas several times throughout the night, looking for birds that fell out of the tree, but everyone else managed to hang on.

Come morning, the winds had quieted and the guineas all flew down to the ground.  I let the cooped birds outside.  The ones who stayed outside all night were still soaking wet and looked totally exhausted.  They barely walked.  The ones who slept inside were all refreshed and excited, but they stayed close to their brothers and sisters.  The guinea flock stayed real close to the house that day after the storm, recovering from riding roller coasters all night long.

We never even lost power from Hurricane Sandy, so we were very blessed and happy.  All the guineas survived, and Brindle returned the next morning, wet but hungry. Such is life on this little farm in the woods.