Disasters and Discoveries

I had an interesting week…….my precious tomato plants are being devoured by SOMETHING, I don’t know what! It happens at night. They are all in large plastic buckets, around 5 gallon size. I figured that would be tall enough and slippery enough to keep the mice and rabbits out, but now I’m not so sure. Strange that they waited til the plants were over a foot tall to start munching them! I thought perhaps it was deer but I set up a solar motion light yesterday and two more tomato plants got mostly eaten. I think a bright sudden light would scare deer away. And I’ve never seen a deer here (though the neighbors have). So it’s all a big mystery but I’m heartbroken over the plants I raised from seeds, babied and watered so diligently. So far they’ve left the bell pepper plants alone but maybe after the tomatoes are all gone….OH! They ARE all gone, except for one little stub, and one that’s never been transplanted yet.
I am trying to salvage one of them that’s still about 7” tall and has a baby tomato. I put it up on the workbench outside. I am not sure whether or not the critters can get up there, but it’s worth a try. I don’t have any other nice tall places for it except the glass patio table; I raised all the seedlings there and nothing has ever been bothered. But I don’t think that table will take the weight of 5 gallons of dirt.
Yesterday I bought some small plastic mesh wastebaskets at Dollar Tree that I’m going to use to cover the smaller plants at night. Once they get too big for the baskets though, I’ll have to think of something else.
Oh I just had a brilliant idea! Maybe. I sprayed the sides of the buckets with WD-40. I think that will make them really slippery so they can’t be climbed?? Time will tell, but I thought it was worth a try. I think Pledge would work well too, but since I don’t have furniture, I don’t have any Pledge. Maybe silicone spray too?
My hydroponic tomatoes were the first to go. They were doing so well, had several baby tomatoes and everything. One day they just started wilting. I changed their nutrient solution but by the 3rd day, one plant’s leaves were all crispy. I’m holding my breath on the other one but it’s leaves are very droopy.
I got three Chocolate Mint plants from the neighbor. You can’t kill those things, right? They take over the whole garden, right? Yeah…well….they died, even though I watered them 3x a day! It’s so hard to garden in the desert, the ground and low humidity just dessicates everything so fast! All the flowers in the flower garden died too. I give up on planting stuff in the ground!!
So that’s my sad gardening stories.
Thank goodness I still have the little geranium plant that a friend sent me from Amazon, it looked pretty sad when it arrived, after delivery delays. But now it’s feeling great and blooming like crazy!! It’s so nice to have SOME color!
Another success is that I’ve been growing sweet tomato slips, and they are doing really good. I happened to have an old organic sweet potato that had shoots, so it started from there. It grew like Jack’s beanstalk, inches every day!! So now I’ve taken some shoots off it and they are also growing roots. I think I’ll try putting them in the really big pot, if the WD-40 spray works. Not that I eat sweet potatoes right now, but I think the vines are really pretty.
Last week I was driving to town and turned on the A/C. The vent between the blower motor and the cabin air filter are clogged with mouse nests that I can’t get out (I tried last summer too) but it still puts out slightly cool air. When I turned on the fan, I heard Clunk Clunk, Crunch Crunch and then a cloud of…..mouse hair?…..came shooting out of the vents, right at my face! EWWW!! I turned it off real quickly but….well, just EWWW. With the low humidity, it never did get terribly stinky but I tried turning it on yesterday (I shut the vents first) and it does smell a little funky.
At a thrift shop I found a little $2 DC fan that plug into the accessory thingy in the car, and I can aim it right at my face. It’s been in the low 90’s here for a week or so, and only two of my car windows are operational so it’s pretty hot driving.
Also pretty hot is my house! By afternoon, the inside temp is as high or higher than the outside temp, even with all the windows and drapes closed. It’s so miserable! The high inside so far was 94.6 degrees…pretty unbearable, but I have to bear it. I feel as though I should move back into the camper, as it has a powerful roof vent fan that would make a big difference. But it’s so depressing to think of going backwards! I love living in my little house, and I guess I’d rather suffer the heat than move out. (How many more days of summer???) A friend did a huge thing, she ordered from Amazon a solar pure sine wave generator and a special 100 watt folding solar panel!! It’s totally silent except for a very quiet fan, and it allows me to recharge all my kindles, laptop, phone inside the house instead of down at the camper, plus it runs a 10” battery fan! The big fan is so much better than the little 5” battery fan I was using. The wind doesn’t make any difference to the heat in here but it feels good. I just got more SS money and ordered the cords from Amazon so I can charge it from the solar panel, and run the fridge off it !!! Of course they’re taking 3 weeks to get here….sigh. Amazon sure isn’t what it used to be. Right now I’m recharging the generator from the inverter in the camper.
I don’t remember if I told you that some folks that have an organic produce farm near me decided that they’d like to use their Stimulus money to help others. The woman saw a photo of my little house and it resonated with her, something about the little heart on the door reminded her of her mom who’s passed away. So she said they wanted to get my solar system set up for the house! She is friends with the solar company guy in Taylor, and they came out and looked at the 245 watt solar panel that I have, and he said he knew just what he wanted to do. He said he’d mount the solar panel on the roof. I guess that’s OK but it sure might be a stinker to get up there to clean it! Since there’s no rain to speak of here, it’ll get pretty dusty. Anyway I don’t know what else he had in mind but I still need batteries and a charge controller. He said he could bring an insulated, weatherproof box with hinged lid that could go at the back of the house for the batteries, charge controller and the 600 watt pure sine wave inverter that I ordered when I heard they were doing this. Apparently the solar guy was providing the components at his cost, and was going to donate the labor. Well I’m afraid that deal was another of those promises that don’t actually materialize, as I haven’t heard a thing for about 6 weeks. If I had that, I could make a little evaporative cooler that should make a big difference in the heat in here. It requires power to run a fan and a small water pump. I haven’t 100% given up yet, but I have a sad history of waiting and waiting and waiting for these empty “promises” to come true. It doesn’t really matter, I can’t buy the stuff myself so it’s not like I can DO anything if they don’t come through. I do wish I hadn’t spent $100 on that inverter though, I sure wouldn’t have done that if I’d thought there was a chance it wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, live and learn! I need to stop believing what people promise. But that makes Sharon’s gift that much more precious, as it WILL run the fridge, once I get all the stuff together. And get someone to help hook it up too. I’m not sure how the wiring goes.
We had 3 days of really high winds, 40 mph+. That’s what made the AZ fires grow so quickly, I’m sure. It shredded another tarp on the camper roof. The roof skylight has a couple leaks so if it ever DOES rain, I need it covered. I can’t reach the places that need new caulking. I think that’s the 4th tarp shredded since last fall. BTW I am at least 100 miles from any of the fires, I’m safe.
I got some good news on the health insurance front, I qualified for a Plan G Medicare Supplement Plan! I didn’t think I would, with a brain tumor and old stroke. It’s going to cost $66 more than I now pay for my Advantage Plan ($166 plus Medicare) so that’s going to be really hard to come up with, but if anything big ever comes up again, it’ll be paid 100%. Given my age, I’m assuming that things will come up no matter how healthy my diet. Starting next month I’ll be spending 21% of my income on health insurance. It’ll leave me with $265 a week to live on, Eeeek! That’s gonna be difficult.
I think I have finally figured out why my weight loss had stalled. I have always done Clean Lazy Keto. Clean keto is without processed foods & processed meats, fast food, etc. Lazy Keto is when you don’t keep track of the macros for protein, fat and carbs. It worked just fine for most of the weight loss but as you get closer to the goal and there’s less fat to lose, then you have to work harder to get the weight off. I think that’s true of any diet. It seemed like such a hassle to look up all those macros for everything I cook! It’s not like I can just get the info off a package, since I don’t eat processed or packaged foods. But the other day I started a spreadsheet, looked up the values for everything I normally eat, and started keeping track. What a revelation! It turns out I was eating way too many carbs and protein. I also saw a video by Dr. Nick Zyrowski about drinking apple cider vinegar to help stalled weight loss. You drink 2 tbsp. ACV with 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, some sweetener and 10 oz of cold water before every meal. UGH. It’s not quite pukey, but I have to hold my breath and just drink it fast. The lemon juice does help, and it helps to have it really ice cold. So I changed things around and in the past week or so I’ve lost another 4#! WOW! That’s pretty impressive….it took 4 months to take off the 10# before that! I hope I can hold onto it and not have it start bouncing those old 4# up and down again. I now weigh 134#. I’ve decided to aim for 100# loss, that would be 127#. Boy I haven’t been that skinny since high school! After that I don’t know what the heck I’ll do, as I’m scared spitless to stop this diet. I’ve never been able to maintain weight loss before, and I desperately want to this time.
I’ve been amazed, feeling all the bones that used to not be there! I now have hipbones, collarbones, ribs…..wow! Unfortunately I still don’t have any cheekbones. I guess that’s a lost cause.

I had some photos to add but as you can see, they’re not here. I tried three times and could not get them to come over to the laptop from the phone. Sorry.

I had aa

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9 Responses to Disasters and Discoveries

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I had something I wanted to share with you but of course now my mind went blank. Sorry for the loss of the plants, wonder what is gettng at them.
    Your weight loss is excellent . I tried the apple cider thing and got so grossed out I thought I was gonna die, but I didn’t know about the lemon and ice cold water part.
    Well if I remember I’ll come back to leave another comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deb says:

    Sounds like tomato worms. Look closely at the plants they blend in well They are the size of a finger and bright green.

    Like

    • janispaqu says:

      Ewww, I hate those ugly tomato worms! I think the plants are
      too young yet to attract them but I’ll check for sure in the morning. If there’s anything left, that is.

      Like

  3. Jo Harmon says:

    I had to go back and re read. It was about building the cooler. Both fan and pump can be bought to run off batteries.. My friend built for me but it took up to much room in my tiny camper shell, it was made from a 5 gl bucket.

    Like

    • janispaqu says:

      Yes I know, but first you have to have batteries to run it! I’m not even going to try to use something that works off actual D-cell batteries, they gobble them up way too fast.

      Like

  4. Joni says:

    Janice, I’m so impressed with your weight loss and determination! Very inspirational!

    Like

  5. Martha Guidotti says:

    Janis. Maybe some of the plants that are drying up have cut worms. We used to put a toothpick in the pot adjacent to the stem to prevent the worm from cutting through the plant stem. So sorry about the tomatoes. It is heartbreaking to lose ones that have been raised from babies. m

    Like

    • janispaqu says:

      I don’t think it could be cutworms on my hydroponics. And the rest of the potted veggies are from all new potting soil so hopefully they aren’t in there! I’ve got enough problems without stuff like cutworms, LOL!

      Like

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