Monday, September 5, 2016

Eagle-eye Greg - Monday 9/5/16

Photo credit: found via Yahoo Images
I wasn't tired enough to fall asleep after the last kitten feeding last night so I stayed up watching L&O: CI episodes on my laptop while backing up my pictures.  I finally went to sleep at 2 a.m. I fed them again at 6:30 a.m. and then went back to sleep until Greg woke me up by coming down at about 9:30 a.m.!

Today is Labor Day and I plan to honor this momentous occasion by doing not much at all. I have a season of L&O: CI (the one with Jeff Goldblum. I used to love him but now I realize that he always uses the same mannerisms and it gets on my nerves!) to watch so I'll do just that.  It'll have to be a Domestic Tuesday this week!

Last year, I had gone grocery shopping on Labor Day as the stores were open, but I had been sorely disappointed to find Aldi closed so I'm not making the same mistake this year. However, I'm thinking that I'm going to split my errands over several days this week.  It'll mean more gas expense, but I can only be gone for a couple of hours at a time because of the kittens and I do want to visit CVS, Aldi, Walmart, etc. this week.

My daughter is attempting to bleach her hair today to get rid of the turquoise dye and then she'll color it blond. She wants to apply for a seasonal job at Universal Studios to make some money for college next year.

Greg is reading the Ike biography that I bought him at the July 4 Friends of the Library Book Sale this year. He's so into it that it's noon and he hasn't driven to RaceTrac yet today despite the fact that Sodapalooza is back for the week!  I might just have to get dressed and go there myself.

Here's the To Do List That I Will Mostly Ignore Today:

To Do List
  • Crafty/Creative:
    • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
    • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
    • Melt down old candles and make into one or two new candles - No, I've decided to just pitch them. I know it's not the frugal thing to do but I have a ton of candles to use up, still, and I really need to declutter the house. Update: I had second thoughts last night so for now they're sitting on top of my washing machine until I decide what to do with them!
    • Make "No Soliciting" sign for front door and another one for the other front door (we have two)
  • Cleaning/Decluttering:
    • Dust the bedrooms (including son's fan) - in progress
    • Declutter linen closet
    • Clean kitchen cabinets
    • Declutter the top of the fridge
    • Mend items in mending basket (add Greg's hat)
    • Declutter shelves over printer stand 
    • Declutter storage bench 
    • Dust fan in exercise room
    • Clean the fridge
    • Declutter gardening supplies chest
    • Defrost the freezer - scrapped off the top of the ice layer. Will need to defrost the whole thing.
    • Sweep breezeway
    • Vacuum living room
    • Vacuum exercise room
    • Sweep/vacuum downstairs bathroom
    • Vacuum master bedroom
    • Vacuum upstairs hallway
    • Vacuum main stairs
    • Do the dishes (Monday) - Done
  • Cooking/Baking/Preserving:
    • Need to preserve the eggplants
    • Write menu for the week
  • Entertainment
    • Plan an outing to Leu Botanical gardens or Bok Tower Gardens
    • Sign up for ranger hikes in local parks
  • Errands:
    • Take items to the dump
  • Gardening/outdoors:
    • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
    • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew (this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!)
    • Fertilize the raspberries - I'm thinking about pulling them and putting more roses in pots in their place.
    • Add mulch to the vegetable garden - I will do this once I have replaced the broken self-watering bins
    • Pull unwanted plants from center "planter" in the backyard, add soil, plant flowers, add edging around it (watch out for large roots that would be in the way). Make planter with other materials if edging doesn't work. (this will have to wait until Fall when it's not so hot and when I can plant wildflower seeds).
    • Divide and repot the aloe plant
    • Plant more okra
    • Trim grass behind the hedge
    • Trim weeds alongside the berm
    • Find fish emulsion and use on plants
    • Pull the rest of the dead tomato plants 
    • Plant passion flower vine seeds
    • Refill green bird feeder
    • Pour weed killer on weeds on patio
    • Harvest the peanuts
    • Refill the hummingbird feeders
    • Pull weeds from pots
  • Health:
    • Call gyneco to make annual appointment - I'll do that once I'm more comfortable with my weight because I know they'll be nagging me about it anyway.
    • Use recumbent bike  - Walked with Greg instead
    • Do 5 min of strength exercises  
    • Log food into My Fitness Pal - Done
    • Record exercise in Walgreens Balance Rewards -Done
    • Weigh myself (Wednesdays) 
  • Kittens
    • Feed them every 2-3 hours- Done
    • Weigh them (5 p.m.) - Done
    • Don't forget to wash hands before and after handling them to prevent transmitting diseases to the other cats  - Done
  • Maintenance:
    • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
    • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
    • Test the batteries in all 3 smoke detectors and replace as needed
    • Greg to call plumber
    • Wash the bathroom ceiling with bleached water
    • Remind Greg to re-secure chicken wire to AC unit and also to block off opening under front of the house
    • Scrub mildew off front of the house (porch, behind bushes, front stairs)
    • Install white beadboard in laundry room (will need to measure and purchase)
    • Install new stick-on tiles in laundry room (will need to remove ancient ones first)
    • Paint laundry room cabinets
    • Get Greg to fix/remove rotten wood on front porch
    • Make a list of which outlets need to be replaced and call Duke Energy Homewire Protection to schedule appointment
    • Ask electrician for estimate on installing outlet on front porch
    • Ask Greg to make me new tiled table for electric roaster on front porch
    • Get on flat roof, sweep it, and clean out the front gutter
    • Ask Greg to install gutter screens on the front gutter
    • Have Greg block the opening in the back fence
    • Fix the fan in my room with electric tape
  • Technology/Paperwork:
    • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
    • Scan more old pictures
    • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns - Started but need to do more research.
    • Figure out if we should contribute to regular  or Roth IRAs for 2016 and fund them - I guess I need to wait until tax time next year, actually. I'll have until April 15, 2017 to fund 2016 IRAs so I need to work on taxes way sooner than I did this year so I'd have time to fund the IRAs and THEN file my taxes.
    • Download all blog photos from June through August to my external drive
    • Back up my external drive to my other external drive
    • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
    • Purge filing cabinet upstairs
    • File paperwork
    • Write new letter to great grand aunt
    • Remove daughter's pc from her room and decide what to do with it
    • Go through the genealogical material crate
    • Shred what needs to be shredded
    • Scan what needs to be scanned (if anything)
    • Work on photo album for daughter's graduation
    • Return solar batteries to Amazon (printed label)
    • Sort new coupons

  • Brewed a pot of half decaf coffee (the decaf was free from Wawa, won in a sweepstake).

  • Racetrac emailed us that they're bringing Sodapalooza back this week through Friday!  WOOHOO!

  • Despite his thrill at being able to get free sodas this whole week, Greg declared he was too comfortable in his chair, reading his book and that he'd go to RaceTrac "later".  I was wanting a Diet Coke to go with my lunch, so I ended up driving there myself.  I brought all 4 Sodapalooza cups and got free refills of lemonade for the kids, a Diet Dr. Pepper for Greg and a Caffeine Free Diet Coke for me :)  I also redeemed a survey reward code for a free Monterey Chicken roll that I put on a bunch for my son's lunch.  At the condiment bar, I grabbed 2 packets of real mayonnaise to put in Greg's lunch on days when I make him a sandwich but I don't want the bread to get soggy before lunch.

  • For lunch, I finished the leftovers of cabbage and turkey bratwurst (so good!) and I had the 2nd half of the papaya that I had bought at $0.69/lb last week.

  • Despite the rainy weather, Greg asked if I wanted to go walk on the trail with him so I fed the kittens and we were off to the General Van Fleet Trail.  Free exercise for us (we walked for 90 minutes) and Greg spotted a ton of wildlife for us. He was a-mazing at seeing stuff that I would have completely missed. In my defense, I forgot to wear my new glasses (which allow me to see better from far away). Also, I was chatting a lot, lol.  We brought our rain jackets just in case and went through a big rainstorm on the way to the trail, but when we got there there was no rain. 

  • Meanwhile, my daughter drove to Publix to buy herself some Vitamin C. She read that if she used that it would help with the hair bleaching. I wasn't really paying attention so I'm not sure what the deal is. All I know is that I asked her if she would drive a little further to Save A Lot to pick up a loaf of bread and some milk that way if I don't want to go shopping tomorrow, we have enough bread for sandwiches and milk for breakfast.  She did.  She paid for the $3.98 OOP with my Discover card so I'll get 3% back in Rewards (I think).  Our son went to the local park to get some swinging done. It's free exercise for him too.

  • On the way home from our walk, we stopped by RaceTrac and got 2 more free Sodapalooza refills for ourselves.

  • I entered my walking into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 100 Balance Reward points.

  • Wawa emailed me an offer for a freebie. However, I don't want to have to store a gift card into their app to get the freebie so I won't participate.
  • I inspected the garden: all the rain we've had is helping the plants survive, but also the darn weeds are everywhere. I need to try and spend some time pulling them out of my pots this week.

  • For dinner, I fixed pulled pork sandwiches, using the last 4 hamburger buns that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. I also made some couscous that I cooked with beef soup base made with Better Than Bouillon, and warmed up a can of no salt added green beans that I seasoned with Herbes de Provence.

  • There was quite a bit of leftovers so I packed some for Greg and my lunch tomorrow and packed the rest of the pulled pork in a freezer container that I had bought at Aldi this summer and completely forgotten about!  Since there was room in the freezer due to the pork roast having been cooked, I froze it.

  • I pulled another package of meat from the freeze for dinner tomorrow: Pork loin chunks.  I guess I'll be roasting these tomorrow.

  • Greg asked our son to throw away 2 small apples that had started to spoil. Good thing that I was there!  I told him that next time he threw away anything from my kitchen, I'd "throw away" some of the video games that he never plays with!  After dinner I cut off the bad parts, composted them, and dehydrated the good parts.

  • I put Season 9 of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on hold at my library.

  • Gas for Greg and me to drive to the General Van Fleet Trail and back.
  • Gas for my daughter to drive to Publix and Save A Lot.

  • I lost one of my rechargeable camera batteries, probably in the parking lot of the trail when I was climbing back into the truck :(

  • Kitten duty
  • Kitten duty
  • Fed the adult cats
  • Started dinner in the crockpot
  • Changed the kittens' bedding
  • Went to RaceTrac for drink refills
  • Kitten duty
  • Went on a walk with Greg
  • Stopped by RaceTrac again
  • Kitten duty
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Inspected the garden
  • Deadheaded the roses
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes
  • Froze leftovers
  • Kitten duty
  • Worked on today's post
  • Caught up on blogs

  • Walked for 90 minutes on the General Van Fleet Trail, about 5 miles.  The first hour we stopped a lot to take pictures and observe nature, but on the way back we were walking pretty fast. My glutes and the bottom of my left heel are sore!

  • For RaceTrac being so awesome!
  • For Greg being able to point out so much wildlife during our walk
  • For a very pleasant walk. The temperature was great, it wasn't too humid (despite the threatening weather), we ever got some sun, and there was a nice breeze.
  • For my daughter to go to Save A Lot for me.


I fed the kitten at 1 a.m., stayed up until 2 a.m. and then slept until 6:30 a.m.  The kittens weren't making a peep and were resting comfortably so I didn't feel too guilty about waiting so long to feed them again. The striped one really didn't want to wake up as the gray one was walking all over him, but he kept on snoring the night away, lol. It's amazing how fast they go back to sleep after I feed them!

Here I gave one to Greg to cuddle with while I was feeding the others.  They enjoyed reading a book together!


Out of the blue, as we were fixing our lunches, Greg asked me if I wanted to go take a walk on the General Van Fleet Trail.  The skies were threatening over our house but he shrugged it off and said that we could just bring our rain jackets.  So we ate, I fed the kittens, and we left.  We went through torrential rain on the way to the trail. It takes us about 20 minutes to get there.

I was thinking that I would need to leave my camera in the truck if it was going to be raining that hard, but when we got to the trail, the weather was like this:

Greg carried his jacket rolled up in his hands, and I decided to tie mine around my waist since I was using the pockets for my camera, extra batteries, my phone and some peanut butter crackers that I had brought along.  I'm glad I did bring the camera (I just brought the point and shoot) because Greg was incredible at spotting wildlife today. Pretty much every animal that I photographed, he spotted for me.  In addition to these pictures, we also saw (not pictured): wild turkeys, turkey vultures, a squirrel, a couple of snakes, a red bellied woodpeckers, and some tiny gray birds with black heads that I hadn't identified yet!  I had asked him to spot a deer but we didn't see one. However, I'm the one who spotted one not too far from our house. It was a lawn ornament but I think it's still counts, since it's pretty much the only animal that I did spot today, save for the butterflies and spiders!  I guess it would have been a pretty boring walk had I gone by myself, like Mrs. Magoo!

Mushrooms in the grass just off the parking lot

This tree's new growth was bright red!  You'd think it's fall or something (we don't get Fall in Florida).

I'm not sure what those pale purple flowers are.

I'm not quite sure what this is. 

Spotted Bee Balm

We came across a whole patch of them!  There were large black and white wasps on a few of them and some bumblebees, but I was unable to photograph them.

Eastern Milkpea

Juvenile alligator on a log

And that's probably the mama, just a few feet away.

The marsh water alongside the trail is usually very still, but today the water was flowing
quite forcefully from one side of the trail to the other whenever we crossed bridges.  We heard many frogs
but they're quite hard to spot.  Greg did see one jump into the water but he said all he could see
were its hind legs before it disappeared into the water.

Spicebush Swallowtail

Air plant

Anhinga, an unusual sight in the woods!

Some kind of swallowtail but not sure which one

Gulf Fritillary

This is a thistle. I wonder if it'll become a purple thistle.

Another Spotted Bee Balm

Common Primrose Willow

In places, the water was completely covered in algae, it looked like a mini golf course!

Spurred Butterfly Pea

Not a great picture of a Beauty Berry

Another mushroom

Not sure what kind of spider this was.  It had a red abdomen and "thighs".

Greg spotted this gopher tortoise running away from us. Look at that cute turtle butt!
One of the tortoise burrows.

They're actually quite fast and disappear into their burrows as soon as they spot you.
Another Spicebush Swallowtail

This patch of plants had quite a few of those swallowtails

Not sure what bush this was but I liked the color of the berries.

Right off the trail, this weird sight greeted us as we walked farther than we had ever walked.... 

And another one just beside it...

The weirdest part?  This homemade sign, installed on a sturdy post, under plexiglas, that reads "Back in Time" and
features the vehicles as they were brand new.  No other indication of why this is all there... just odd.

The sky was getting dark again and we felt a few drops so we turned around, but it never did rain.

Dead baby snake in the trail. Maybe a water moccasin since there is extensive water on each side of the trail.

Another gopher tortoise

And another one!

Not sure what kind of turtles this was, it was too far away for me to see.

Great Blue Heron on the side of the road, as we were driving away.

Sandhill cranes. We saw lots of those around today!
What did you do on Labor Day?


  1. Great post and great photos. But those lists. Argh.

    1. Thanks, Terry. Sorry you don't like the lists, after visiting your blog this morning, I can see why it would be challenging for you to read past all that. However, this blog is my tool to keep me organized and motivated and making the lists works very well for me so I'm afraid that if you decide to be a regular reader, there will be daily lists. I've been trying to go out and explore Florida more, but now that I'm raising kittens, I'm a little more stuck at home than I anticipated so I probably won't have many interesting pictures to share for a while. All the best.

  2. I love anhingas! They're so pretty. Also the great blue heron. I would NOT have been excited about seeing those gators, though. I like a good distance between myself and a gator. Were you using your longer lens? You really caught a lot of detail on the mama.

    Your striped kitten reminds me a lot of Gir, our striped cat. She was the oldest of the three kittens and such a precocious thing. She still is, as well as being something of a princess. :)

    1. I only had the point and shoot camera and I zoomed just a little. It was about 20 feet from us. I'm always afraid that one day those will decide to sunbathe on the opposite bank... which is just bordering the trail and start chasing us. I always keep an eye on what's behind us as we walk, just in case. I'm kind of a nervous Nelly like that!

      Does "Gir" stand for "grrr"?

  3. Thanks for sharing your nature walk. When I lived along the Gulf Coast, I was not to comfortable with alligators either.

    1. You can never be too careful around those animals!

  4. Beautiful trail and lovely photos. So nice that you got to go for a hike today. It got you out of the house and provided a different kind of exercise. Different muscles may be hurting tomorrow morning. The area that had the two derelict cars was very spooky.

    In our back yard, we have a lot of Blue Jays. They are pretty, but very chatty. And I nearly stepped on a garter snake this morning sunning itself in the pathway. Fortunately, the dog didn't see it.

    As my husband just walked up behind me and looked at the computer screen, he was very pleased to see the kittens. "They survived", he said. He is rooting for them.

    1. There is a blue jay that visits our neighbor's yard but he won't visit ours, it's weird. Maybe too much open space in ours? What would have the dog done if it had seen the snake? I need to weed wack the area around my composting bin. The weeds have gotten quite tall and I was just reading an article a couple of days ago about a guy about an hour South of here who got bitten by a rattlesnake that he surprised in tall grass...

      The kittens are thriving! We're so pleased. I included a funny video of one in tonight's post :)

  5. Sounds like you had a great walk! Good weather and lots of lovely photos. I especially liked the one of the mushrooms - they look like they are marching across that grass! I like to think that there's a great story behind the car and the truck.

    1. I love seeing mushrooms, it reminds me of early mornings picking white mushrooms with my grandmother and great aunt in cow pastures in Belgium and of Sunday mornings picking mushrooms in the woods with my dad :)

  6. I'm loving all your nature photography! Would you believe that we spent Labor Day by going to The Mall at Millenia and IKEA in Orlando? Except for some food at IKEA and lunch at the mall (P.F. Chang), we didn't buy anything.

    1. Thanks :) You didn't buy anything at all?! Now that's an accomplishment! I'm really enjoying my IKEA laundry racks, thanks again for telling me about it!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!