Storms roaming around.

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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I would not want to run a farm to earn a living. Raising crops and animals for the commercial market is a daunting task for us city boys. To be a good farmer one apparently has to be born and raised on the farm where lessons are learned every day. A specialty farm, such as what your family operated is even more challenging. However, when I win the lottery, get my Bentley automobile, and my estate is fully built, there will be a greenhouse about the size of a three car garage. I love gardening, both vegetable and flowers. It's something I miss dearly about the last home I owned. The growing conditions there were infinitely better than what I have here. Plus, the nurseries and supply shops were prolific. That's kind of odd when you think about it. I lived in the city and could get anything a farmer would need by driving no more than 20 minutes. I now live on the edge of rural America and I know of only two nurseries within twenty miles of my home. Only one of them has decent supplies. During the five summers I've been here a few neighbors started a victory garden of their own. None kept it up for more than two seasons. It's observations like that which remove any inspiration to grow my own. I do have a log in the basement with mushroom spores embedded into it. Still no mushrooms, and it's been almost a year in the making. We do get mold to grow on the siding and on the basement walls. That's about it for live growth.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

In the old days, from before I was born, and up through the early years before becoming a teen.
We had the family garden, plus the commercial produce farming areas. Back then a farmer had to raise about 25 to 50 different crops if he wanted to succeed. I'm sure that was very hard to do.
But as time moved forward, more farms began specializing in only five crops and dwindling down to only a single crop, but still kept their family gardens for their own needs.
In our case, grandpa started selling more flowers than product, which is why in 1913 he changed his sign from "The Wayside Market" to "The Wayside Florist." At that time we still had all the Orchards, and the Produce growing areas, which he slowly converted to raising things lake Gladiolus, Mum's and Pompons. Which needed shade cloth if not done in the fall.
Plus he built several greenhouses, and his original greenhouses were all hydroponic, some 30 years before that name was ever coined by Mr. Gerrick. And LONG before plastic were ever invented, so he had many obstacles to overcome with pumps and pipes.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I spent about twenty years in the first house I owned. There was space out back for a garden, and that was my passion for most of the time we lived there. The neighbor to my south was a retired farmer from Wisconsin. You could tell just by looking at some of the stuff he made by hand. A snow blower for example. It was about the size of a gas furnace, square and boxlike. The snow came out the top where there was a deflector which he could adjust to throw the snow in the direction he wanted to. The problem there was it only tossed the snow 3-4 feed away from the machine. Plus, I don't know what kind of drive mechanism he had in there, but it moved at a crawling pace. It did, however, clear the snow right down to the pavement.

Many were the times he would come to the chain link fence that separated our properties and chat. It was mostly about growing things and some stories about his farming days. He encouraged me in many ways and sometimes I caught myself growing things just to impress him. I planted celtuce for that reason, and sure enough he questioned me about it. He never saw it before and was happy to take a few off my hands when they matured.

All the while I grew things my intent was to grow the best specimen of whatever it was I planted. I learned what it took to eliminate destructive garden critters and what those numbers on the fertilizer bag all mean. Eventually I got into organic gardening and did some companion planting, such as basil intermixed with the tomato plants. Certain flowers were great insect repellents too. My most memorable experiment involved alstroemeria. I didn't know what they were the first time I saw them, but they often ended up in purchased flower bouquets. Eventually I identified them and had one heck of a time finding seeds so that I could try to grow them. As it turned out they are native to Peru and grow in the mountains. The seeds I finally did obtain had to be stored in the freezer for a certain amount of time to simulate what goes on in the Andes Mountains. Then they had to be nicked or slit open and soaked for a period of time. Growing them was done in the shade and the proper amount of water and fertilizer was critical. I grew them in hanging pots next to my garage where there was a screened in patio kind of area. It never got direct sunlight which apparently was a good thing. I was ecstatic when they all grew and flowered beyond my wildest expectations. I don't know if they were perfect, but they made me very happy.

Well, that's the kind of gardening I loved.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

I never had a machine that blew the snow away like a sno-blower does.
But I did have a propane sidewalk cleaner that was interesting enough.
It had steel wheels for the obvious reason, super high heat under the unit.
Sorta weird the way it was built though.
It had a flat cast iron plate on the bottom that curved up in the front like a sleigh.
This plate sat about 1/2 inch above the sidewalk.
It had about 12 to 16 holes in the metal plate, and right above those holes were pipes with jets on them for the propane to come out. The flame was both above and below the cast iron plate, but mostly below it.
That curved front of the plate was also hit with like 4 flames from nozzles also.
So it mostly just melted the deeper snow in front of it and then the water under the plate basically turned to steam.
Now if you went too fast, you only ended up with water that froze again right away.
But if you went slow, it would normally leave a dry path behind you, well sorta dry, unless there were areas the water would puddle up. Then you had to sit on that spot for a while. And when you were done, it seemed there was always a super thin film of ice that would evaporate away in about an hour. Or you could zip back over it again and actually dry and heat the sidewalk.
It was fairly large and held a BBQ grill sized tank of propane.
The only bad thing about it was, if too much steam was created, it could put out the flames from the jets, if the steam got into the air intake for the gas/air mixture, which was pretty high up on the machine. But it happened to me a few times anyhow, hi hi.
The igniter looked like a throttle and cable, but all it did was pull a flint across a striker plate under the center of the machine.
Sometimes it was a pain to get lit if too much gas was underneath, but if you pushed it along before hitting the striker it would fire up OK. In the end, you could shovel the snow faster and toss down a thin layer of salt and be done, so I gave it to an older neighbor.

I built a small greenhouse here, and had a 50 foot by 25 foot garden for several years. But now we only raise a few tomatoes.
It's cheaper in the long run to buy from the store already grown produce, hi hi. But we do can tomatoes.

I did raise several exotic plants for resale, but that project only lasted about 3 years. Most folks just wanted cuttings of my plants, hi hi. I was big in hydroponics, and that is how I started 90% of my plants.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I like the idea of steam cleaning the snow off your pavements. I can see how it would be a slow and laborious process but most likely it was less labor than shoveling the snow by hand. A lot of the winter snow up by Chicago falls during the time the temperatures are in single digits. I don't know how well the melting machine would work in that kind of cold weather. Plus, you don't want to spend a lot of time out here when it's zero because your nose and ears will get frost bite. And that is not an exaggeration.

Last Christmas one of my daughters gave me a tomato growing kit. It has 3 or 4 different kinds of tomato seeds and instructions on how to grow them. I doubt that they would grow in any of the soil around my house, but my plan was to get a large bag of potting soil and poke a few holes in it for the plants to grow. I did that at the old house a couple times and the crop was exceptional. I looked for potting soil only once during the spring season and could not find a bag large enough for the purpose. Perhaps I could have built a raised bed, but that involved some actual planning and work. So, no tomatoes this year. Store bought are fair enough, but basically are tasteless. Nothing beats home grown.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

You can laugh, but I've often just used a garden hose to wash off the cars and driveway and sidewalk. Then when finished I would toss some fine salt down to keep the thin film of water from freezing.
I've also used a long reach propane torch nozzle which looked almost like a single pipe crutch with arm grip.
Water was much faster and easier. Either way still left a film of water on the walk or drive.
I think I told you about how I tried to heat my driveway using plastic tubing filled with oil connected to an oil heater in the garage. We installed it when we had a new driveway poured. It lasted perhaps three years then the plastic between the slabs cracked.
It did OK, but cost a lot in electric to run that oil heater system. Sorta glad it broke, hi hi.
Also had to leave the cars running if it was too cold or the doors would freeze shut when I washed them off, hi hi.

We do that too, buy bags of potting soil. Poke a bunch of small holes in the bottom or back, and then plant tomato plants in the top, usually two per bag is all. Then stick a wire cage down over that. One year we get a ton of great tomatoes, the next year, the maters are not so hot, and few in number. We blame it on the bees not coming around that year, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

The weather back home was exceptionally crazy at times. There were days when we got everything possible: sunshine, rain, hail, sleet, snow, and of course ice. On those days it is best to keep the motor vehicles inside the garage. I did not one time and discovered I could not get inside my car without damaging it. That would be the natural way of hosing down the car and letting Mother Nature do all the work. The other crazy thing I've seen back home is car washes being open during the winter. It really helps to get the salt off your car, but the air temperature better remain above freezing long enough for things to dry out. They do close down entirely for a couple months. The equipment can't operate when the outside air is below zero. LOL

I've done the tomatoes in a bag of soil trick and I also grew potatoes in a compost pile with no dirt. The idea there was to make harvesting easy. Apparently potatoes will grow in just about any medium, but the ones I nurtured didn't do so well. We got one or two fair sized taters from each plant but most of the spuds were just a bit bigger than marbles. It was hardly worth the effort.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

There was an indoor car wash at one of the big malls back home. Don't remember which one now, or even if it is still there.
People would use the car was so they didn't have to park their cars, even though it cost like 10 bucks far a car wash back in the late 1960's. Needless to say it was open year round, and your car was nice and warm when you were done shopping. Their pick-up area was in an inside parking garage which they also kept heated. There was no quickie car wash there, it took around 25 minutes for your car to make it from one end of the car wash to the other, hi hi. And if you wanted to spend 20 bucks, they would clean the inside of the car too. And I'm sure they had other optional things you could get. I only used them one time and it was the best wash job that car ever had, at least I can say that much. I only did it because it was winter and I knew I would have a nice warm car to get back into when I left the mall.

I raised potatoes in buckets I could stack up as the plant grew. So you couldn't harvest any until you disassembled the stack of buckets, but we got plenty of them, at cost about 5 times higher than buying potatoes from the store, hi hi.
But tomatoes, that's a different story, you cannot get the home grown flavor, not even from local farmers in Grainger County.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

The home grown tomato taste can be closely approximated, and I had the luxury of testing out that theory. I had a guy come and mow our lawn the first couple years we lived here. He lived down the road from a Mennonite farm, and I guess he knew the people who ran it rather well. He had more tomatoes than he could ever make use of, and one day he gave me a couple. They were amazing as far as taste goes, and the cut tomatoes lasted a lot longer than most others too. So, the next time I was at Schnucks I discovered they too sell Mennonite tomatoes. They were just as good as the ones given to me by the grass cutting dude. The next best tasting tomatoes are cherry or grape tomatoes. The flavor in those is often intense, but not exactly like the homegrown I used to cultivate.

The best car wash I ever bought was in North Carolina when we were on our anniversary celebration tour. We were driving around town and saw this gigantic car wash and figured it would be nice to explore the new state in a clean car. It was $30 for the best they had to offer. He took our car and we sat in a very comfortable waiting room while they did their magic. Everything sparkled, both inside and out, when he returned it to us outside the waiting room door. The tires were shiny, which impressed me. LOL It wasn't exactly what a detailer would do, but it was pretty darned close. I felt that I got a bargain.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

We can get Amish tomatoes during the winter that emulate summer home grown, but they are expensive.
Most store bought tomatoes, even those from Grainger county, although claimed the best, still do not top home grown.
And in winter, they all are more like cannonballs, with no flavor, hi hi.

I did have excellent luck getting tomato plants started in the winter, so they were a good foot tall once the danger of frost was past. But having a greenhouse also helped. I could pull them out of my crawl space growing area and put them in the greenhouse with a bamboo stake in each one. Many of them were blooming when I set them out too. But since no bees yet, or in the greenhouse, the blooms would die without bearing fruit. Unless I used a cotton swab and went through and touched each one with the same dirty swab. I tried a spray can of blossom set for tomatoes one year, made more of a mess than anything else.

You did get a bargain, sounds like they did a detail job for a high-end car wash job.
We had a man who worked in our greenhouses back in the day. He would come in on his day off to wash and wax your car, and clean the inside too. 3 bucks to do the outside, 2 more bucks to do the inside. He even cleaned the grooves in the ashtrays so they looked like new. Most of us would give him 5 bucks for the outside, and a ten spot for doing the inside and outside.
My dad paid him some extra too to Simonize his car, instead of using the Turtle Shell wax he normally used.
He also paid him 5 bucks each to wash the outside of our delivery vans and the cheaper wax job.

We had one old van we used only on the property. The paint on it had weathered so had a chalky look to it.
The guy tried something on the paint job called Chrome Cleaner and polish. It took off all the oxidation and made that truck look like it just came off the showroom floor. Well, except for the exposed dry-rotted rubber parts, like on the running board. Even so, he used something on the rubber to make it look black again. Probably brake fluid is my guess.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I tried to earn spending money as a kid by doing odd jobs for the neighbors. Grass cutting was my favorite job but I didn't own a grass cutter. Some people let me use theirs. I also would come to your house and wash your car if you supplied the hose and water. That was fun but not a lot of people were interested. One guy wanted me to Simonize his car. I never did that previously and had no idea what I was up against. Simonize is the best wax but it is also the most difficult to deal with. You really need professional equipment, like buffers, in order to do a good job. I must have spent six hours on this guy's car. I gave it my best effort but it was far from showroom quality. They guy was very sympathetic and knew how hard it was to do a good job, which is why he didn't do it himself. LOL He paid me what I asked and I don't recall if there was a gratuity or not. I'm thinking not.

When I had a vegetable garden I would start plants in my basement. Celery, for example, had to be started in February in order to be ready to plant in May. I built a couple racks of grow lights which did well for very young sprouts. As the permanent leaves developed there wasn't enough light to keep them happy. Some of the tomato plants were kind of spindly, but all of them transplanted quite well. I didn't think we had a lot of bees at that old house, but all the tomatoes and other fruits and flowers blossomed and grew prolifically. My wife was not all that happy come harvest time when I'd bring in two bushels of vegetables. it was a bit much for dinner and she wasn't into canning. LOL
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

Not the Simonize brand, but a car detail center only used Carnauba Wax, which is supposed to be the hardest wax known to man.
However, I know they mixed the Carnauba wax with Olive Oil, to make it softer, and then they used oil soaked rags to buff the wax out, then dry rags after that until they got that showroom sheen they were after.
Now if you only wanted the sheen to last for a few days, you could use just the oil they had and buff it out with a dry rag. However, dust would stick to it, but wouldn't if they used the Carnauba wax shine at 3 times the price.

Debi cans tomatoes, and sometimes green beans. Her sister, the blind one, still cans most of the stuff from their garden. But I think these days she is more like the sidewalk superintendent, telling her hubby what to do and when.

When I worked at the cannery as a part-time volunteer, I learned a lot about canning, and how easy it is to can in tin cans if you have an autoclave, which naturally home canners don't have.
There was also a lady who helped out at the cannery that brought in some of her own vegies, mainly green beans to can. She would get them all done before the normal work day so they were ready when the autoclaves were fired up. She would run her green beans through the autoclave for four passes. I thought that was odd at first until she gave me a can of her green beans.
There were just like those you cook on the stove until they have cooked down fairly well. Just the way I love them, only now, hers were heat and serve ready, no cooking them for an hour first, hi hi.

Here's a trick that may be useful for you, doesn't involve canning, but does uses glass canning jars.
When you buy strawberries, they usually only last a few days. Put them into canning jars, and they will last 4 times longer.
You don't do anything special, just put them in the glass jar with a sealed lid, that's it.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

Now, with strawberries you are bringing up one of my pet peeves. LOL

Strawberries were somewhat of a problem for me back in Chicago, but here in O'Fallon they are nearly always a disaster. You are correct about berries in general lasting only a few days and it just irks me to no end when a basket of berries are half bruised and many with mold right out of the box. I have an idea that part of the problem is the market from which places like Schnucks and Dierbergs buy their berries. I swear they buy rejects or B-grade berries, or possibly the market isn't what it is up in Chicago. Strawberries are very bruise sensitive. Those bruises actually don't affect their nutrition, but the taste is different and it just rubs me to wrong way when I have to eat fruit with a black eye. Thus after I trim off all the damaged fruit, the cost of the edible fruit is two to three times more than the already expensive price in the store. Plus, here in O'Fallon there is no peak season that I can detect. At least up in Chicago you can count on good tasting berries from late June to early August. The rest of the time they are bland bordering on bitter. Here in O'Fallon a good tasting strawberry is as rare as a winning lotto ticket.

The raspberries here are worse, if you can believe that. Just about all of them get fuzzy and mushy if you don't eat them immediately when you bring them home. Blueberries are ok depending on which type they happen to have in stock. And, blackberries are almost always in good condition, but not always tasty. I love berries with bananas and from time to time will make a sugar/butter sauce or a caramel sauce to put over them. But, I've nearly stopped doing that since I've moved here to O'Fallon.

I will try to find a glass canning jar and try your preservation suggestion. I doubt that will do anything to improve the taste or remove the bruises, but at least the edible parts may last longer. Thanks for the interesting idea.

Carnauba wax, yes. That's the stuff they use to make chocolate candy bars. It's particularly prominent in the crap from Hershey's but other candy bars use it too. I love to cook with olive oil, but never figured it would work on oxidized automobile paint. Amazing what I can learn from you. LOL
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ocelotl
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by ocelotl »

Regarding fruits, most of the issue of the big box stores chains is their distribution network. While I was growing I was told that here in Mexico City it was difficult to get the best fruit quality since that was destined for export directly from the producers. The second best quality could then be got from either the public markets or the "route tianguis", and then from chain stores. Nowadays quality seems to be similar, with the advantage that in big box stores people can choice. Since not all fruit stands well refrigeration, or that the cold chain is not always strictly cared off, not all fruit stands all the way from producers to consumers. Bananas are burnt by cold, berries also if they are not properly frozen, and commercial preserves have too much sugar and preserving additives.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

Your comments about not being able to get quality fruit does not surprise me. During the winter months the berries I am talking about are of the same quality as those I can buy in July. How is that possible? I'm certain there are places in America that can grow the berries all year long, but my understanding is that a lot of the fruits we buy in winter comes from ... Mexico. When you think about a strawberry grown in Mexico City ending up in St Louis a few days after it's picked, you have to wonder exactly how that happened. The strawberries are packaged in neat little baskets that all weigh the same. Thus somebody, or some machine, has to pick the right size and weight combination of berries to fit in that basket. If it's a tight squeeze ... doesn't matter to the packing machine but me, the consumer, gets damage fruit. Then, how does that basket of berries get here to O'Fallon? I'm certain it goes through all extremes of weather during the winter months as well as being pushed, shoved, dropped, and mangled while sitting in its shipping container. So, I'm fairly certain that the second grade fruit available to you in Mexico is better than the prime fruit that ends up in my grocery cart.

The best of the best fruit goes to commercial businesses. There are two separate supply chains and us retail consumers do not have priority.
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

We have several pick your own strawberry places around here. So that is where we get the bulk of them. In season.

No, Olive Oil don't remove oxidation. Chrome Cleaner does that, or rubbing compound.
Mixing Olive Oil with Carnauba was just makes it easier to put on is all. And getting it off using the oil helps too, but I'm sure takes some of the wax with it, hi hi.

We had a guy who waxed his car using styrene wax like they make utility candles out of.
But he warmed it up so it was like chewed chewing gum, this way he could get it on the car.
He had to keep it thin, because as it cooled it turned back hard again and then was nearly impossible to buff out, hi hi.
But on the bright side, he only had to wax once a year, hi hi.

We used to grow strawberries in gutters like go on the eaves of houses, around the perimeter of skylights in the restaurants who had them. Worked out really well too. I had one running just under the roof of my backyard greenhouse and they did better than the ones I had outside. I think they got more light too which might be why.

Now I don't have the energy to do much of anything anymore. Just walking from my office down to the house I need to have my portable oxygen tank with me and turned on to 3 or 4, depending on whether I'm going downhill or uphill.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I don't think I ever waxed the Saturn. The paint on that car did not oxidize like the older cars I've owned over the years. The finish also seems to be more shiny than those vintage cars so that I'm sure they do something with the paint to keep the glitter going forever. My wife just got herself a 2019 model Toyota and that paint shines just as well as the Saturns. It remains to be seen if the paint will deteriorate over the years, but I have a feeling all it will need is a good washing from time to time.

I used to grow my own strawberries in the first house I owned. They were the most delicious berries I ever tasted and are the standard I use for comparison. The problem with those berries was that the birds loved them too. But the birds don't eat berries like us humans. They will take one bite out of a ruby red berry and then move one to the next one. I tried a lot of things to discourage the birds from picking at my fruit, but nothing seemed to work. I ended up getting some shear netting to place on top of the berry plants. It let just about all the sun in but also deterred the birds. Now the squirrels were a different story, but they seem to take the whole berry and not just hunt and peck. LOL
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Kellemora
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by Kellemora »

All cars now have lacquer instead of enamel, and most have a clear coat over the lacquer too.
Sometimes that clear coat begins to peel off, like on my wife's 2002 Blazer.

I have several bird feeders in my yard, so the birds never bothered the strawberries, but they sure went ape of the grapes and cherries, hi hi.
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yogi
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by yogi »

I grew a lot of things in my garden back in the day, but the birds were picky about what they decided to eat. I'm guessing it's the color of the strawberry that attracts them. It would be hard to believe that birds have taste buds. LOL

On a slightly different note, my wife of many (54) years and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary on Thursday. Being old codgers as we are, I'm certain that it is a challenge for the kids to come up with something thoughtful to send us. To be honest a card or a phone call would suit me well enough, but I guess they like the challenge of searching for an appropriate gift. The suburb next to where I lived previous to Missouri was home to a famous Italian restaurant known mostly for it's "Chicago" style pizza. I've seen a few review for them over the years and they are always up near the top. Since we lived so close it was just convenient for us to go there, but they DID have the best pizza of all the shops we dealt with. The crust is unique in that it's almost like flaky pie crust and the ingredients fresh and tasty as you would expect from a quality restaurant. Needless to say we miss this place because there is nothing like it in O'Fallon; probably nothing like it in all of Missouri.

Well, the girls sent us a Taste of Chicago package. There were two pizzas and a can of caramel/cheese popcorn in with the dry ice which was all contained in an insulated Styrofoam box. We have in our desperation ordered something similar a few years ago so that the pizza was no surprise. BUT, I never encountered frozen popcorn in all my mail order experiences. The gals know I love popcorn because last year they sent popcorn that was still on the cob. I popped the last of that just a couple weeks ago. I broke off a couple chunks of the frozen stuff, but it didn't seem all that frozen, which is probably the reason why it broke off. I don't recall specifically tasting this brand in my former life, but I have had a few bags of gourmet popcorn in my days. This stuff ranks right up there with the best of the best. Hard to believe a pizzeria would also have such good popcorn.
Last edited by yogi on 21 Sep 2021, 23:14, edited 1 time in total.
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ocelotl
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Re: Storms roaming around.

Post by ocelotl »

Birds tend to peck on non visible areas of fruits... Tomatoes on the pots here haven't been touched, so we in the family enjoy them. Figs an Pomegranates are a different story. On my paternal grandma's house, she had pomegranate and fig bushes, so every year from July to October, the whole family enjoyed them. I helped dad fertilize it and spreading some black soil around them, that's whenever the wild sparrows, warblers, finches and grackles left them... Every now and then, when picking a fig or a pomegranate, they were already tasted by those neighbors... Sis planted a fig in her backyard and the first figs came out well, but now that's changing.
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