Thursday, February 23, 2023

Rainy and Cold on Thursday

Aloe Vera Flower Stalk

The aloe vera plant is flowering for the first time.  Aloe vera is the type of aloe with the gel that can be applied to the skin to soothe burns or added to drinks.  The other aloe plants that I have growing in the front garden are not edible and I would not apply the juice from their leaves to my skin.  They are grown purely because they are drought tolerant and the hummingbirds enjoy their nectar.

Last night (or should I say very early this morning?) just before I went to bed, I put the gas heater on for about 15 minutes or so and I put the heating pad on my bed to warm up the bed while I said my nightly prayers.  Then, I switched the heater and the heating pad off and went to bed feeling nice and warm. 

When I woke up this morning, however, it was around 51F inside the house and 45F outside and raining!  Even though I was bundled up, I was still feeling chilled, so, I put the gas heater on, with the thermostat set at 65F.  It took over four hours for the house to warm up to that temperature and the heater to turn itself off!  After which, I switched it off and haven't switched it back on, yet.  

The forecast called for a high of 52F, but, we only went up to 50F for a very brief period of time, around 3:00 p.m.  It was 45F when I checked at 1:40 p.m. and it is 47F at 5:20 p.m. when I am typing this.  I have just switched on the small electric heater and set it up right next to me.  But, I think I'll put the gas heater on a bit later this evening.  

It rained most of the morning; not a heavy rain, but enough to give the plants a drink and I managed to collect about two inches of rain in my buckets!  The sediments might be from the bags of mulch up on the patio roof!  

Rain Water Collection

The rain ceased in the afternoon and we had a bit of sunshine.  I started the car (it started without any problem) and walked around the garden, checking on things.  The mail carrier was training a new person, showing him how things are done, and he greeted me, but, said I had no mail, today.  

I made a pot of turkey and vegetable soup, in the afternoon.  There was a little bit of ham languishing in the fridge and I chopped that up and added it to the soup, along with onions, celery, bell peppers, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and potato.  All the vegetables, other than the carrots and potatoes, were from the freezer, with the bell peppers, zucchini, and broccoli being what I grew.  A fairly frugal soup, I think, since the stock was made from part of the Thanksgiving turkey carcass and vegetables I had on hand.  I wanted to add some tomato, too, but, I only have a small package of tomatoes in the freezer and I want to keep that for a mackerel curry, next week.  That package is the last of the bumper crop of tomatoes I harvested in 2021.  Last year, I was able to pick only five tomatoes from the garden.  I hope I will have another good crop, this year.   I called neighbor S to ask if she'd like a bowl of soup, but, she declined saying that her daughter N had made chicken soup.  I guess with the cold temperatures we are having, everyone is thinking of warming bowls of soup!

Turkey/Ham/Vegetable Soup

Brunch had been two banana nut muffins; dinner was a bowl of soup.  It was an early dinner for me (before 7:00 p.m.); most probably, I'll be looking for something else a bit later in the evening.  There are several more servings of the soup left and I will offer some to M if he tends to the garden, tomorrow (all depends on the weather; more rain is in the forecast for tomorrow and if it rains, M will not be tending to the garden).

Today, I am grateful for:

- Rain for the garden
- The car started 
- A working heater
- Sunshine in the afternoon
- Warm clothes

Today's joyful activities included walking around the garden and chatting with my daughter.

Plans for tomorrow include doing a load of laundry and cleaning the kitchen.

How was your Thursday?  What are your plans for Friday?  Hope the weather is good where you are and you are keeping warm and safe, especially if there are winter storms and snow.


  1. Your aloe flower stalk is lovely and it's nice that the hummingbirds enjoy the nectar. I have never had an aloe plant in my kitchen but yes different to the one in your garden and apparently you cut a leaf to extract the gel to heal burns. It's a shame the weather is so cold for you, I believe ours is set to change again with snow forecast, I do hope not.

    1. Thank you, Eileen. I've several flowers in the garden that the hummingbirds enjoy and I love watching them as they hover and drink the nectar. It is unusually cold here! Normally, I wouldn't have minded it as much - I'd have put the heater on high and been quite happy! But, now, I'm trying not to use too much gas to keep the bill lower, so, I am feeling cold! I hope your forecast is wrong and you will not get snow!

  2. I like the idea of using the heating pad to warm up the bed and have done that myself in the past. It feels wonderful :)
    I bought flannel sheets this year. I've never thought I would like them as I'm not someone who feels the cold. But I have to say, they have made such a difference in my comfort level this winter and I adore them.
    Your soup looks so warm and delicious. I bet your house smelled good when you were making the broth. Good idea putting the ham in too.
    I'm glad you are getting some rain.
    Stay warm and cozy, Bless :)

    1. The heating pad does warm up the bed nicely - I just keep it there for a few minutes, but, it helps. I'm glad you have flannel sheets, Debra; they do make a difference, don't they?
      The soup turned out well and the small amount of ham that I put in seems to have improved the flavor quite a bit! I have more ham in the freezer for a pot of ham and split pea soup, later.
      It is pouring with rain! It rained all night last night and it is still raining. My water buckets are full to the brim!
      Thank you, Debra; I'm staying warm. I had the heater on last night and have it on right now, too. Dancer has claimed the chair that is in front of the heater and I am on the sofa which is covered with a crocheted blanket and I've another crocheted blanket pulled over my legs. :D

  3. I have had aloe plants in my kitchen that have gotten fairly large, but never bloomed. When my cats started to eat my plants, no matter what kind, I stopped having many houseplants. I have a couple now in an extra bedroom with the door shut so they can't get at them. Some of them are poisonous, so that seemed best. Although, the cats don't jump well these days, so I might get away with a few more.
    Stay warm. Cold rain is the worst for trying to keep warm.

    1. These aloe vera plants are outside in a pot and rather pot bound! I am not sure if being pot bound has contributed to its flowering.
      Dancer, too, used to eat all the houseplants and I've most of them up on top of bookcases, etc. He doesn't jump that much anymore, but, I don't have many houseplants, any more either - just two fairly big plants (a dracaena and a pothos) and some pothos cuttings in water.
      Thank you, June; I am keeping the heater on, today.

  4. I guess you don't have much in the way of insulation in your house? Four hours is a long time to try to heat a house. I'm so sorry you have to fight the cold indoors. The Aloe flower is pretty. I didn't know there were two types of Aloe.
    It was 5°F outside when we got up and about 67°F in the house, as the fire needed making up. The sun is shining and my cleaner is here. I don't have much to complain about, do I?

    1. These houses, especially the older houses like mine, have very little insulation. The family room addition has insulation and I believe there is some old insulation up in the attic area, but, I haven't renewed it. I kept the heater on, last night, and I have it on, today, too, set at 65F. These are the coldest days we've had in a long time and I need to keep somewhat warm!

      There are several varieties of aloe, but, aloe vera is the one that is used for skin care and other uses.

      Sounds like it is pretty cold up there, but, yay for the sun shining and the cleaner doing the cleaning! :) It's raining, here, and the cleaner is lounging on a blanket covered sofa with another blanket over her legs, reading blogs! :D

  5. It's definitely soup weather! You seem to be having similar daytime temperatures to us but it's falling below 0ºc overnight so there was frost again this morning. I find it hard to get out of bed when it's like this as the house is still warming up so it still feels chilly upstairs first thing. I'm alright once I start moving though.

    I've just had a very quiet day. I did one load of washing but spent the rest of my time napping or reading. I'm still feeling really tired so there's no point pushing things and making myself ill again! xx

    1. Yes! Definitely soup weather! Your overnight temperatures are colder than ours, but, we are supposed to get close to 0C tomorrow night (36F = 2C); I am hoping that some of my plants, like the passionfruit vine, will make it through OK.

      I'm glad you had a quiet, restful day, Eileen. It is important to get plenty of rest when one is recovering, otherwise, one can get a relapse.

  6. That sounds really cold for California. It's hard if you're not set up for it - like we're not set up for the heat that is normal there. The soup sounds awesome and just what you need.

    At the risk of saying what you already know, have you thought about making some microwave rice bags? I've found this video, but I know that you are far more talented than I and can look at this idea with much better judgement.
    It may be just what you need to have to top up a blanket and bowl of soup if you are sitting for a short while, and to warm up your bed. I've seen them recommended as hand warmers for kids on their way to school.

    Sending hugs x

    1. It is cold for southern California, Lyssa; but, northern California and the mountains usually get snow in the winter. I wouldn't have minded it if I could keep my heater running without having to worry about high gas bills! But, after I received that nearly $700 bill, last month (not due to higher usage, but, due to higher price of natural gas) I am trying to keep warm without running up another high bill!

      I do have a rice bag/heating pad that I made a few years ago.
      I sewed a new cover for it, last year and posted about it, here:

      I microwaved it, last night, and used it (mostly because I had a painful stiff shoulder). The video you provided the link to is good, but, I sewed pockets in my rice bag to keep the rice in place.
      In the heat of the summer, I put it in the freezer and use it to cool me down! :D

    2. I am absolutely stealing the idea of putting them in the freezer!

    3. They make good cold packs. :)

  7. What a chilly start to the morning! That sounds like quite a while to heat up the house.

    1. Yes, it took a long time to warm up the house. I am now wondering if it is better to keep the heater on at a low temperature and raise it if needed than turn it off completely and have it try to warm up from a much lower temperature.

  8. It looks like your Aloe plant will be pretty when the flowers open up. I used to own one myself, but I have never seen Aloe vera flowers before. X

    1. Thank you, Jules; this is the first time I've seen an aloe vera flower, myself. :)


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