Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn whine

Where's Autumn?

It's suppose to be fall, right? But today we had temps of over a hundred, and it'll be around a hundred for the next week.

Hot, hot, hot! And my hot flashes are going nuts!

When will the cool get here?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday's Thirteen: Save Water

I live in a dry arid area here in the central valley of California. We don't take water for granted here, especially not in a drought.
Photo by Janice Seagraves taken near Three Rivers CA

Here are thirteen ways to save water:

1. Even though it's fall it's still hot here so when kids want to cool off in the water, put a sprinkler out where your lawn needs it.
2. Don't run the water when you brush your teeth.
3. Don't water your lawn, or if you insist on having at least a semi green lawn then water twice a week.
4. Install low boy toilets to conserve on water (that's what we have).
4. Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
5. Wash your car in those places that recycle water.
6. Only wash full loads of laundry.
7. Buy water conserving appliances
8. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost your vegetables instead to save on water.
9. Spread mulch around your plants to keep in the moisture.
10. Fix faucet leaks indoors and out.
11. Sweep patios and walkways instead of hosing them off.
12. Install a rain sensor on your water system so your sprinklers won't run during the rain.
13. Take shorter showers or use the buddy system. It's always fun to share.

Photo by Janice Seagraves taken at Huntington lake CA

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Ice by J.D. Faver

On IceOn Ice by J.D. Faver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished On Ice by J.D. Faver, about a woman, Rene, who runs from her abusive husband with her two children up to a tiny town in Alaska called Sad Horse.

Rene is hired as a teacher by a tall, bearded, Grizzly Adams type man who’s the love interest. The people there are warm and welcoming. Each one is a true character, which reminded me of Northern Exposure.

As Rene struggles to assist her children in adapting to this sleepy town, she can't help looking over her shoulder for her abuser. At the same time, the town's people seem to fold her into their arms.

Sad Horse seems to be made for Rene. This is where she is needed and accepted. She can't help comparing this life that she is making for herself with the isolated home her husband forced on her.

Unknown to Rene, her sister and her family are being harassed by her abusive husband, Mark. The sister can’t step a toe outside without coming face to face with the smirking Mark.

J.D. Faver does a great job of ramping up the tension. The husband eventually catches up to her, and the climax had my heart pounding.

The only negative about this book was the editing: Missing commas, dropped words, some telly phrases and slight POV shifts.

Even though the editing bothered me a bit, it still didn't take away from this engaging story and I found myself really rooting for the heroine.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Anniversary of 9/11

 Today is the anniversary of 9/11, the day the twin towers fell.

Most people remember where they were when Pearl Harbor was attack (I wasn't born yet), when Kennedy was killed (I was four) and now 9/11.

Where were you on 9/11? 

I live in California and we're three hours behind NYC. I had gotten up to wake my daughter for school.

I turned on the TV and sat down staring at the burning twin towers and wondered what was going on. The news caster made the announcement. Five minutes later one of the building fell, and then my mom called. 

Mom: "Are you seeing this?" 

Me: "Yes."

Mom: "Did you see the building fall?"

Me: "Yes."

Mom: "Just wait the next one will too." I didn't question how she knew, but I realized she was right. If one fell the next one would too.

It wasn't long until the next one did.

I felt like I was in shock for the rest of the day. 

Who hated us that much? Of course we did find out.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Harvest Season

It's official, we're right in the middle of Harvest Season. 
(photos by Janice Seagraves)
The tree shaking has already happened and all the yummy goodness of almonds are laying on the dirt, waiting until they're dry enough for the sweeper to sweep up. This is all done by a machine driven by one man. It blows the nuts over until he has them lined up into one long neat row. Later he'll show up again to sweep up the almonds, which will then be loaded up into the back of a semi truck trailer to be taken off to the processing plant.
At the plant, they'll be taken out of their shell and the almonds cleaned and then roasted before they'll dust with salt or seasonings and boxed up for sale.

Across the street the raisin harvest is underway. Again what used to take a work crew of ten to twenty takes only three men to pull off. Long lengths of paper are laid out down the rows of grapes, then the huge picker pulls off the grape bunches off and lays them down in a flat even row. Later workers will come to cut off length of the paper and turn them over onto fresh paper so the grapes can dry on the other side. After drying they'll be gathered up and dumped into either gondolas or the semi truck trailers and taken away to a processing plant where the rains will be cleaned, destemmed, dried again before being boxed up for shipment.

My husband works at a local winery. It's the biggest plant in my home town and hubby works there as graveyard foreman. He's a industrial maintenance mechanic and keeps the plant running.

The crush season is underway: The grapes are harvest like the raisin grapes but instead of being laid out to dry are then loaded up into gondolas or the trailers of semi-trucks, then they are brought to where my husband works. Weighed, the sugar content checked before being off loaded into the crush area, where they are turned into juice and the steams, seeds and grape skins are removed. Wine grapes almost always have seeds. The juice is put into great big silos some six stories tall, where later a yeast culture is added. Yeast eats the sugar in the grape juice producing alcohol, which in turn changes grape juice into wine.

A lot has changed in the last twenty years in how produce reaches the market, and less and less people are needed. One of the reasons that the work has become so mechanized is that the workers are getting harder to come by because of the tougher migrant laws since 911.

In my home town, the farmers have gotten together and decided to share the same work crew. They rotate the work and keep the migrant workers busy all year long, so they'll stay and be available when they are needed.