Thursday, October 11, 2018

Awe-tumn!

Well Howdy folks~

I do hope you’ve had a fantastic summer.
We have recently built our first fire and received our first real rain since June.
They should be opening the forests, if they haven’t already, 
so we can go get firewood.
That’s something we usually like to do in spring, and we do have some 
but not enough to make it through the winter.
You are probably wondering what we’ve been up to these past few months
- or even if you aren’t wondering, I’m still gonna tell 'cause I'm ornery that way.
The garden did reasonably well this year in the way of green beans and tomatoes so canning those to help carry us through winter was a priority.
In addition to canning, the dehydrators have been busily humming along
with apricots, plums, strawberries, blackberries, and apples.
We’ve processed one bear so far (wouldn’t mind another.)
In addition to the meat, we rendered 1 gallon of incredibly delicious lard 
and for the first time bone broth.

Mr LB surprised me with this amazing cauldron.
I had been wanting one for some time. He’s such a sweetie!
We were able to process all of the bones in one go 
and ended up with several gallons (in quart and pint jars) of broth.
Aside from our jobs, that’s what has consumed most of our time.
About the plans and projects I alluded to in my last post,
well they are still in progress.
Believe it or not, I have been trying to work on them, 
but as often happens life gets in the way.
I’ve been blogging for ten years now and over that span, 
there have been many changes -
Both in myself and in the land of blogs.
Is it just me or did they used to be more personable?
Once I was about a month into the break,
(probably while chopping tomatoes- great thinks get thunk while chopping)
I realized I was no longer thinking of my life in the form of blog posts.
It was a refreshing realization.
We went out of town for a wedding and a visit to friends this past weekend, and
I think it was the first time I took pictures in two months.
Somewhere between boiling bear bones and slicing apples,
I decided to just take it easy in the way of blogging.
I will post occasionally but not on a regular basis.
As I do finalize some of the things I’m working on
(though turtle pace it may be)
I will be sharing them with you
It always makes me wonder when a blog just stops 
or doesn’t post for several months, if everything is okay at the other end.  
(Am I the only one who wonders such things?)
So I just wanted to let you know
that even if I don’t post regularly, I’m here.
Here working, here living, and here moving through the seasons.
I'm here.

As always, I love to hear from you 
so feel free to drop me a line and harass me a bit.




Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finding Home

I've been thinking of Christmas lately.  
I know, weird.  
But do you remember the feeling of Christmas, being home, 
and that feeling that was just as present as another being.  
A comfort of sorts - in the smell of the cookies baking, or the sugary frosting, or the lights playing peek-a-boo from behind the boughs of the tree, 
or the simple prospect of a hug from a loved one.  
That feeling void of global turmoil, political correctness, or weight of expectations. 
 I've been craving that feeling like one craves a specific flavor.  
It's a certain kind of peace - not naivety or ignorance, but a knowledge that "it is well."  Whatever "it" is, there is peace in its wellness.  
So I've been trying to figure out how to satisfy that craving, and it's proving a challenging feat, but that's my quest at the moment.
Each of us has our own level of comfort and what we can handle before we go crazy.  
One of the things for me is having some form of order in our home.  
I'm not sure how, but paper clutter has been breeding like crazy.  
I have stacks to sort through.  
It's also canning season.  
I canned the first batch of green beans last week and just picked our first ripe tomato.  
I have set up a makeshift "summer kitchen" out in our shop so we don't heat up the house.  We've had a few weeks of triple-digit weather 
and aren't expecting a break until the middle of next week.  
That has created more shuffling of items and more 'stuff' to go through.  
I thought I'd gone through it all, but alas I was wrong.  
I've found two  more years of taxes that can be burned (when it cools down,) 
even more papers to go through - sort, file, pitch, 
and various things that are just the result of living in one place for nearly 20 years. 
My goal is functionality. 
 I think I've always been a function over fashion sort of person.  
How our home needs to function in order to meet our lifestyle changes over time 
so it needs to be altered or adapted to how we live.  
I used to can some jellies here and there but baked quite a bit.  
Now, I can a significant portion of our veggies and we eat very few grains/sweets.  
The equipment and supplies used for each is different.  
The kitchen still seems geared towards baking but there is a shift so in reality, 
it's not really convenient for baking or canning - go figure. 
 It's getting a going-through.  
Soap making supplies can go out to the summer kitchen 
as well as fiber dying materials and supplies.  
It's really a big rearranging of stuff.  
Buuuuuutt.... all of this rearranging kinda creates a chaotic scene 
which makes me walk with a bit of a twitch.
Our fruit trees, berry bushes and garden are loaded, 
and that produce needs tending or soon will.
With a full time job, a 'spare' job, and tending to our winter's food supply,
I feel like I'm running in mud.
With that, I've decided to take a couple months off from the blog and Etsy shoppe.  
I will still be 'here,' but it's such a busy time,  
I need to focus on home and family and try to make our home function 
for us rather than against us.  
I hope you will understand. 
 I will return the beginning of October as the leaves begin to fall ~ a beautiful time. 
I'm hoping to take this opportunity to update and clean up a few things
on the blog and in the shoppe as well as our home. 
I want to thank each of you reading this.  
I appreciate your time and your comments, and hope you have a superb summer.
I also hope you are able to find a relaxing spot to enjoy a cup of something cold
and appreciate the season we are in.

PS~ These pictures are just some of the produce growing in our yard/garden as of this morning.
  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

100 Years Too Late

Have you ever been told you were born a hundred years too late?
Or maybe you just feel like you were...
I know I do at times.
There are some things that can help bring a sense of yesteryear
into your today though.
(Hubby's anvil.)
I'm sharing these things as much as a reminder to myself as I am for you.
June was pretty rough around here.
I could throw a fabulous pity-party for one,
but I like to say, "What you seek, you will find."
That said, I'd like to gear my focus towards something more positive.
Sometimes we just need to re-center ourselves and proceed.

So let's proceed~
(Queen Ann's lace.)
The first thing we can do is Stop.
Just stop. 
Stop trying to change the unchangeable.
Take a breath.
Regardless of the romanticism, people had jobs 100 years ago.
They had to be to work on time just like we do.
So why does it seem so hectic today?
Distractions are one thing, but really, it's the willingness 
to accept what we cannot change.  
If it takes 20 minutes to get to work, and you are leaving 5 minutes late,
don't attempt to make it to work in 15 minutes.
You might not make it at all.
Accept that you will be late and 
make every effort so that it doesn't happen again tomorrow.
This is counter to the message that we are told today
"Power at your fingertips, control with the push of a button, etc."
We can neither change nor control time, period, end of story, fin.
Accept. Move on.
(Rip eyeing a good stick.)
Thing Two is children.
When did parents' lives begin catering to children?
About 100 years ago, the average number of children per household was 9!
Can you imagine if all 9 were going in separate directions?
I'm not saying don't let Billy play soccer, but maybe it should be 
an exception rather than a "right."  
A child needing his/her own calendar is crazy.
Children should aspire to be adults rather than 
adults aspiring to live like children.
My kids are now grown (though munchkins forever in my eyes:).
But I see this in frazzled friends and co-workers.
They are merely a shuttle service to and from their children's activities.
Prioritize.
Family should come first.
(Yum.)
Next, Cook.
I know this sounds almost cliche, but there's more to it.
The act of handling your food renders it more respected.
And yes, food can be respected.
Get the family involved.
If a child mashes the potatoes, he's more apt to eat them.
There will be more reluctance to waste food and best of all,
it's far healthier for you.
I won't dwell here, but will say the act of sharing the preparation,
the cooking, the eating, and cleaning up from a meal
is strengthening in many ways.
(Just a weed.)
(((electronics)))
I tried to type that quietly so I don't get e-flogged.
I'm not going to tell you to go without or shut them off completely.
I get it.
They are part of our lives.
The thing is, they are tools.
Don't let a device control you.
Weather it's a phone or TV or computer, put it in its place.
A phone is a tool to communicate.
A computer is a research tool.
And a television is a tool to entertain.
Here's a personal example:
I used to check my email, blog, etc. in the mornings before work.
 Of course, it's easy to be lured to this or that just by clicking.
"They" know that and do it on purpose.
Once it dawned on me that nothing that comes via email (etc.) is urgent,
I decided to wait until I had a break at work to check.
This has done two things for me - 
it gave me more morning time and
it put a limit on my browsing time.
(Hubby's post-leg vise.)
Also, Maintain.
By maintaining your items, you'll save money 
by not having to repurchase them.
We live in a throw-away society, 
designed specifically to separate you from your money.
Weather it's shoes and shelves or lawn mowers and laundry baskets,
before tossing something, ask yourself if it can be repaired.
Then even if you spend $10 to repair a $100 item, look at it as saving $90.
(Corner of the cabinet.) And lastly ~ Make ~ 
Make something or find a hobby.
The possibilities are endless.
My mom is known as the local cookie lady.
She makes cookies for just about any "special" event in town.
You could make a garden, make a car, make a quilt, make a cabinet.
There are plenty of studies indicating that people who seem to live only for their work tend to die shortly into retirement.
Nobody wants to be that person.
(Sitting on a rock by the river.) All in all, these are very doable tasks.
You don't have to jump in with both feet.
For that matter, you don't have to jump at all.
But if you'd like a bit more peace and a little less chaos,
maybe pick one or two points and work towards them.
It's not a test, nor is it a race.
There's no winner or loser, but with any luck,
you'll (I'll) be more at ease, have clearer thoughts, and feel better overall.

Like I said, June was a rough month.
Feeling off kilter and going 100 mph is a wreck waiting to happen.
I needed to find my center.
Home is my "center."  
In the past week, I've been concentrating on seeing what is important to me and trying to rid myself of those things that aren't that somehow 
finagled their way into my life.
For me, having home in order (or at least somewhat) is grounding.
I think that's a part of the past that we long for.
You could count on dinner at dinner time.
Grandma always grew daffodils.
Uncle Joe could fix anything on wheels.
It's how it was ~ dependable.
When things change gradually, it can be difficult to spot the changes.
Once we figure out just where we are and where we want to be,
it is easier to find the way.
Sometimes, it's necessary to back-track a bit to get back on course.
It works the same for time as it does for road maps.  
Sometimes, looking to the past is the way forward.

Were you born 100 years too late?






Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Cost = Free ~ Part II


The other thing I found recently was this amazing table and chairs.
(This is the picture from the ad that I responded to.)
The folks had just moved and it didn't fit in their new house so it had to go.
She said there were multiple calls between the time I called and made arrangements to pick it up 
and when I arrived.
The cool thing about the table is it has two leaves but no seam down the middle.
(Before I got the cabinet in.)
See~

Our old table worked but was an old one my grandmother had 
that we gorilla glued back together multiple times.

The chairs were recently recovered and I love the color, but they must have changed them when they did so.
I think there should be a plywood form as well.
As is when you sit in the chair, you feel like you’re falling into a big toilet seat.
There is no support so you actually sink into the chair.
I need to pull one apart and make a pattern of sorts.
From there, I can do them one at a time just to make sure one size fits all.
In addition to not having much time lately, 
I haven’t been super excited to get to this,
because it involves pulling staples.
If you’ve never pulled staples on this sort of thing,
Come on over - I’ll learn ya how ­čśë
It will be nice to have them done, and I do have plywood for the job,
Now it’s just that time thing.  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cost = Free ~ Part I

There is a tip I'd like to share with you folks.
It's called Craigslist.
It's kinda funny how things work out sometimes.
Several months ago, I found an old "baker's cabinet" listed for free.
It had been in the garage, and he was clearing it out.
It was filthy but I liked the size and shape so inquired.
It was 2 hours away near my hometown 
which I thought might make a good reason to go visit.
(This is the ad photo I responded to.)
Upon inquiring, I couldn't go get it on a weekend.
It had to be Tuesday mornings or Thursday evenings 
or some silly thing like that.

(Linoleum covered work surface which probably saved it in many respects.)
(No paper? No problem! Just write it on the cabinet - really!?!)
(Need more hooks? Just use nails.)
*Sorry for the odd lack of quality on the last couple photos.  My camera settings somehow got switched, and I couldn't undo my work to get more 'before' pictures.
I told him I worked during the week but would see if I could get ahold of a friend to pick it up for me.
By the time I was able to get ahold of my friend and explain what I needed,
the post was gone so I figured I missed it.
Nearly 2 months later, it reappeared.
Evidently, the first time "it fell through," and he lost the phone numbers.
Needless to say, I was able to just text my friend and ask if it was still okay.
He made arrangements and went and picked it up, 
then I got to go down on the weekend and pick it up from them.
It worked out wonderfully.
I made thank you chocolates to take with me.
The cabinet is from the 40s/50s as the original paint was still on the doors.
(The original colors - inside of cabinet doors.)
It's a homemade job as the pencil lines for the shelves 
showed on the back as I was sanding.
The other neat part is it was probably made from "local lumber" as it was a lumber community.  I sure miss the smell of lumber mills running.

After day one~
 I had two different sanders I was using.
This little one got back into the corners better
but wasn't as powerful as the belt sander.
I'm not sure why, but I like leaving a little of the paint in the grain of the wood.
Maybe it's because it reflects its past a bit.  Who knows?

After day two~
Finished sanding and stained/sealed.
I wanted it "just wood colored" and tested a couple different choices 
on the bottom.  I didn't like any of them as was.
Clear was too bright, cherry too orange/yellow, others too dark, etc.
I ended up mixing 'cherry' and 'old American' to get the right tone. 
I don't have the doors done yet but was able to get it in the house 
and out of the shop.
The doors are smaller and much easier to set aside.
I will have to make bottom doors, 
but the hinges were still on the cabinet so I have them.
I love that I have a place to keep my huge bowls.
I will be putting my beeswax/candle making items on the bottom 
but want to wait until I get the doors made so it doesn't get dirty.
I will try to scrub the inside of the upper doors.
If they clean up okay, I think I will leave the inside original
just for a bit of whimsey and surprise.
The only cost was a visit to some friends and a bit of elbow grease.
It's pretty primitive for our home, but I love the functionality of it.

As the saying goes, "One man's trash..."


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hand Forged Hasp & Hinges

Just have to brag on that sweet man of mine.
Mr. LB forged a set of hinges and a hasp for Hucklebunny Hideaway.
She approves, and I got to tell him she loves him 
almost as much as he loves her.
He really does like her.  
It's kinda cute, but don't tell him I said that.
He won his first blacksmithing competition a couple weeks ago
so that was pretty exciting.
(Never mind the bunny fluff on the hinge.)
Knives are popular due to a show on TV,
 but Mr. LB prefers making tools and mechanical technical sorts of things.
He already has the math skills and metallurgy from his "real" profession
as a metal fabricator so that helps.
We have been gone every weekend for the past month,
 so I'm looking forward to staying home
and catching up on things ~ will be sharing more soon.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Making use

Another one of those ideas hubby loves me for (grin.)
We have a huge cedar tree out in the side yard.
It's actually a couple of trees but looks like one big bushy tree.
Over the course of years, it has been consuming more and more of the yard.
We do like it because it blocks the view of our back yard from the road
so didn't want to get rid of it.
Also, it's beautiful and smells wonderful.
So, here's where my brainy idea kicks in.
I suggested that we clean up the bottom branches so it's just up off the ground.
Mr. LB got the little chainsaw and made his way in toward the trunk of the tree.
He cut the bottom branches all the way around.
From the outer skirt, I began to try to figure out just which branches to pull
and figured I was tugging on ones that were still attached.
Finally, Mr. LB took hold of the base of of one of the branches and walked out.
It was difficult because the branches that were in part laying on the ground
and had taken root!
In addition, there were a half dozen smaller trees that had sprouted up
with trunks 2"-4" adding to the bulk.
We got the branches pulled out and set to work on them.
Even though these are smaller, cedar makes great wood for starting fires.
It's unfortunate that our old cottonwood wasn't a better burning wood since there was lots of that.
I am making use of many of those rounds,
but we'll probably end up burning some of it which will make a ton of ash.
Maybe next winter won't be tooooo cold, because 
we are sure getting a scrappy looking wood pile.
We tend to focus on the burning qualities of trees
because it is such an important part of our lives 
and requires a great deal of time and energy.
But there are other good qualities for both of these trees.
I've used those sticky little pods that the cottonwood shed 
to infuse oil for healing balm.
It works wonderfully but does smell just like cottonwood 
in case that bothers you.
The cedar of course repels bugs and moths.
We are infusing quite a bit of oil so we can make soap with it.
We made it through a good part of the branches 
when God told us to take a break.
He kindly decided to water for us (it started raining.)
We should be able to use just about every morsel of the branches.
It rained Sunday too, and 
I didn't feel like working in the rain so it's taken a little while to clean up.
I will rake up underneath the tree eventually.
Hopefully, this will let enough light in that we don't lose more lawn.
We try to make the most of our resources and trees are pretty important to us.
I can hardly wait to use the cedar oil.
Also, since we began on the cedar tree, that other cottonwood fell
as I shared in the last post.
We've been working on getting it cleaned up as well.
One of these days, we might get a yard back.

Now I have a confession to make~
Shortly after the post where I showed my upside down tomato cages,
Mr. LB noticed them and said, "NOooo!"
Evidently, that totally bothered him last year (who knew?)
He asked why, I so I told him they tipped and didn't go in the ground even, etc.
He asked if he could try.
"Sure," says I.
Of course, he tried and one tine would promptly hit a rock.
He said he could fix them, and in no time he had a thin-cut 
and chopped the stakes/tines down to about 14"-18" from the first ring.
He went through and cut each one and put them in the ground right side up.
So now I don't look quite so much like a goof.
If you are having issues with your tomato cages, 
you might try trimming the tines.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

After the Storm

I have another post nearly finished to let you know what we’ve been up to,
but last night we had a major storm go through. 
We watched it happen. 
The base of that cottonwood is at least a couple feet across.
It was alive and healthy.
It was good that we had taken out the two trees a few weeks ago 
or this would be far worse!  
Luckily, nothing hit the house, rigs, critters or us 
but we sure have a mess to clean up now.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Eggshells Worked!

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they worked and are still working.
The most difficult part was writing on eggshells.
What I really love is that there are no plastic containers to deal with.
The entire set up aside from my trays is compostable.
Though that was also a plus as there were no markers getting in the way 
or getting smudged.
I have started my seeds in "rounds."
The more cold tolerant things I started first,
then as they began growing and I could move them out, 
and I found morsels of time,
I began the more delicate things (like tomatoes.)
Someday when I have a greenhouse, 
maybe I will be able to do more all at once.
For now, in my kitchen, this is what I do.
In order to plant the plants, 
I just use the corner of the spade and crack the shell
making sure to break the inner skin of the shell too.
Yes, it's early, and I certainly don't want to jinx myself,
but so far what I've planted has lived.
 (Sweetpea vine)

Funny little note~
Mr. LB suggested that next time, I plant the faster growing, larger things all together so that the one tray could be dealt with as they grew.
I then explained to him that it's meee he married, and that
they were planted in alphabetical order.

It always looks so pretty all dug up and planted - before the weeds arrive.
We were given some tomatoes that are pretty big so they are in the ground.
Mine are still pretty small so will wait a while before introducing them to the outdoors.
Again, I'm a rebel.  I use tomato cages upside down. 
They always seem to hit a rock and be crooked then tip when the plant grows.
This way they are wider at the bottom so don't tip as easily.
I should put some sort of decorations on the tips so folks can think
I'm whimsical rather than just goofy.
One other thing I've done this year that's new (to me) is to use burlap in the baskets rather than purchasing the nest things.
I don't like paying for those things so I usually just don't use the baskets.
I had quite a bit of burlap on hand as I had bought some to make a hooked rug
then found out how awful it is to work with and on for rug making.
I will see if I can make it last a couple years.
I actually like it better so far because I was able to fit more dirt in the baskets.
With the nests, it seems like they don't come up over the edge of the basket
and their thickness makes the growing space rather shallow.
As things grow, I'll share.
It feels so good to play in the dirt.
And I can hardly wait for that first green salad 
if we can keep the deer out this year.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Being a Do-er

Good Morning.
Hope you all had a blessed Easter holiday.
We had a small gathering with a large meal at our house.
It was "easy company" and a pleasant day.
The frogs are juuust beginning to chirp, those little talkers.
It's not the whole chorus like we will have.
These are probably the optimistic frogs since we can still freeze at night.
I love the sound of them though. 
They aren't like the shrill screech of the cricket.
There's a ribbit undertone that makes it relaxing, easy.
I've been anxious for spring this year - spring fever, maybe?
It has me stirred up.
And somehow hearing the sound of those chirping talkers has reminded me
that another year has passed.
You know, 'talkers' as opposed to do-ers.
I've felt a need to finish things 
so have been doing some of those things that I've put off for far too long.
Then there are the things I've talked about doing for some time.
These things are 'dreams' of sort.
I don't want to be just a talker (even though it's easier.)
I've dabbled here and there but have never had 
a real opportunity to develop my ideas - 
Or, more likely,
I've had the opportunity but either didn't recognize it or take advantage of it.
Those frogs chirping just seem to be telling me, "Now."
It's time.
No, I don't have any more time now, but
it's time.
I don't want to just be a talker.
I want to be a do-er.
Somehow I need to figure out how to do it on 24 hours a day though.
We both work full time with nearly an hour drive at each end of the day.
Maybe if I didn't spend a third of my life sleeping.......
but that's not much of an option.
If I continue sleeping at night however,
something's gotta give.
I'm hoping to share with you soon,
 but my posts might not be regular while I take time to work on these projects.
I am still working on finishing things I started in the past,
but am also trying to be intentional about devoting a certain amount of time to 
"my work."
I'm doing.