Cleaning & Pondering

Yesterday when watering I noticed that some of the zinnias are beginning to turn brown. Do the blooms just do this after after a week or so? Or is this the effect of the sun and heat?

I don’t know of any blooms that look good for very long. Thankfully I’ve planted the new seeds. I need colorful blooms in my life!

Yesterday around 5 p.m. I decided to clean my apartment. This means dusting after I’ve straightened up. I’ve begun to just use a wet dish rag so as to not send dust flying into the air because of Charlie and his coughing.

I usually clean the French doors. Then I vacuum and mop. I also clean the bathroom and change the sheets. I read that changing the sheets every week is important with pets like Charlie who struggle with respiratory problems.

In the summer, I tend to put a fitted sheet on the bed. Then I add a blanket on top, and then another somewhat smaller blanket on top of that. I like to sleep on the blanket and cover myself with the top blanket.

Charlie sleeps at the end of the bed and likes the soft blanket as well.

The wonderful thing about small space living is that it doesn’t take long to clean. All told it takes me about an hour from beginning to end.

Ivy loves her two new furry mouse toys. She tosses one up in the air and then runs after it as though it’s getting away. She flips her whole body over it and makes all manner of strange moves in regard to her mouse toy.

I suppose this is honing her prey skills and it is predetermined at birth.

I’ve never seen a cat love a bath tub like Ivy does. She likes to take her toys in the bathtub and toss them about. Maybe she likes the coolness of the tub. But then she loved the tub in winter as well.

I also brush Ivy in the tub. That keeps the fur somewhat contained. When she sees me get the brush she runs and jumps in the tub. I use a brush with silver spikes, and I suppose she likes how it feels.

The heat makes me listless. I keep thinking I might like to start a new project. Then I think about the heat and reconsider. Which means I get nothing much done.

My neck is somewhat better after all the physical therapy. But really my hand pain is determined by how much I use my hands. And for heaven’s sake how many times do you use your hands a day?

If I use my hands to do things like dig or clean, they are just going to hurt and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Arthritis has settled into the joints.

The other day at PT we decided I wouldn’t make a new appointment, as I was using up my yearly insurance quota of visits. She told me just do what you can as long as you can.

Pain is something you just learn to live with. Growing older and dealing with arthritis is just part of life. With decades of use and injuries, eventually if you’re dealing with a joint it’s going to get arthritic and painful.

One of you sent me a link to an article on how to keep your garden going through the heat. And one of the suggestions was not to cut everything back, which I’ve unfortunately already done.

The lemon balm and mint will spring back. Maybe not until cooler weather. But it’s hard to kill those herbs.

I noticed this morning while out with Charlie that a few tomatoes are just about ripe enough that I might bring one in this evening. If I do, I will fix a veggie burger.

And I’m hoping these tomatoes aren’t as tasteless as the first batch that I picked during the intense rain.

I’m wondering if the zinnias that have turned all the way brown are ready to harvest? I’ve never harvested zinnias. Do you wait until fall or just slip the dead flower bloom into a baggie now for next year?

If I wait much longer, the fragile brown bloom might get blown away in the wind.

July is ending and August will be another month of intense heat. So will September and much of October.

All winter I look forward to spring planting. Then within a few months the heat has killed off many of the plants I planted.

It isn’t long before I’m looking forward to cooler weather. And I’m now there.

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  1. The heat has been bad here this summer, too, but at least we have a lot of humidity…which is miserable for us but the plants love it.
    My last kitty, Misty, LOVED the bathtub and if any of us took a bath she would perch on the edge of the tub and climb right on us in the water..she would also get in the shower as long as the water wasn’t hitting her full force…so odd for a cat. I still miss her!

  2. You can buy Arnica gel which is good for arthritis. I have a knee that gives me fits, so I just rub that on. I believe there is one made specifically for arthritis, but I bought just the gel at Walmart. I think I saw it was available at CVS, and maybe most pharmacys. I have a few fingers that are beginning to need it too. It is made by Boiron.

  3. Hi. A few years ago I had a huge crop of zinnias in different colors. When flowers started to dry up, I just left them in place because they usually turned an interesting an interested faded color, more like a muted watercolor than the previous bold color. Some birds like finches will go after the seeds, so I just left the dry heads in the garden so I could watch the birds land on them. I finally gathered them all in the very late fall. I made sure to get them when there had been no rain for awhile so that the flower heads were dried out. I tossed them all into a plastic bread bag. The next spring, I prepared the soil just by scraping away the top layer. I took the flower heads and broke them up and scattered them across the soil, seeds, petals and all. Then i sprinkled a light layer of soil on top. I don’t remember how long it took them to come up. I did this with that same batch of flower heads for several years and it worked great, but then they sat for a couple of years because we moved twice and I didn’t have gardens for awhile. I used them this year and they did not come up. So I need to start over again. I did the same thing with marigolds, leaving the dead flowers until the end of the season. The only difference is, in late fall when I gathered the marigold heads, I did separate them into two bags, one being a short variety and one being a tall variety. For gardeners who like it more tidy and don’t want to see dead flower heads standing around, I’m sure you could snip or pull off the dead flower heads earlier than I did, and dry them on a screen or something and start saving them earlier rather than waiting until the end of the season.

  4. Go watch Judy’s last post at Gold Country Cottage. She has been experimenting with drying zinneas and she found a good way. They kept their pretty color and look pretty good! She makes lots of dried flower garlands. Probably need to start the drying process before the petals turn brown. My cats go outside, but when they come in and if they are dirty, they wait and stand by the door for me to brush them and wash them off. with a damp cloth They like it! Becomes a little ritual. My Rudy boy found a live mouse the other day and he and our other female had so much fun playing with it. I don’t know if it ever got away or not. They really don’t like to kill them, just play with them! Marilyn

  5. The way I harvested my zinnia seeds was to cut them off right under the bloom. The put them on a screen or something where air can circulate. If they have any moisture in them it will get moldy. Worn it’s completely dry, I pulled off the petals and threw them away an crumpled the flower center, that’s where the seeds are. I’d sore them in something not air tight, again to prevent mold or mildew.

  6. Plumbago does really well in the central Texas heat…it has lovely blue flowers…and it is a shrub.

  7. It must be awful dealing with that intense heat for so long, Brenda – we had a heat wave for about 2 weeks and it was still significantly cooler than what you deal with, and it was more than enough for me! The last two nights I had to close my windows and turn on my little heater in the living room and I was so grateful for that relief!

  8. You certainly named your blog properly, Cozy Little House, because that is exactly what it is. I love your color choices, which gives it so much personality.

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