Friday, April 30, 2021

The Sound of Quiet~

First, I have to tell you that I love that I get to share this with you.
In one of my last post, there were 3 short words that seem to have resonated
in our home recently.
"Quiet the Noise."
I should first admit that I am probably a bit hypersensitive.
I have good ears, a good sniffer, good eyes though do have 
wear readers now which I'm not thrilled about.
At our house up the mountain, 
I could tell when the well pump kicked on just by the "sound"
and could feel the pressure in the house.
Yea, I know it sounds odd.
Guess I'm just odd, what can I say.
(The Rosemary is blooming.)

Anyhoo. . . 
I seem to be on a continual mission to nix the noise,
visual, audio, all of it.
We recently had the son of some friends come and stay with us
for a couple nights.
He is 28 and claimed that he was a night-owl
preferring to go to bed late.
(We had warned him that we were early-risers).
After the first night,
I asked if he slept alright.
He said, "Yea, really good actually."
He had evidently gone up about 20 minutes after I had
when Hubby went to take a shower.
He slept about 10 hours each night!

It was really pretty funny.
He was shadowing Hubby at work to get a sense of what we do.
He's wanting to go into the field and had questions.
He got to smith a steak turner and was thrilled.
It's busy and loud at work (metal-fabrication).
Then when we go home,
it's quiet, no TV, not a lot of "stuff" clanking or beeping about.
It was fun to see him unwind
and probably odd for him to feel.
What it told me though, is I'm on the right track.
We don't realize how screens and background noise and even odors
effect and stress us.
We need the silence sometimes.
For us, it was more sound in our home than usual.
It was another body, another shower, drink of water and
the sounds one makes simply by being
and of course we chatted :-)

I've been telling Hubby for ages that if he wakes in the middle of the night
which he does often, not to read on his phone.
He finally said the other morning as we were drinking coffee,
"I think the screen does something in the brain to keep us awake."
He has the blue-light blocker, but could still tell the difference.
He said he read in the hunting synopsis
and then was able to go back to sleep.
(Can you see me slapping my forehead?)
Actually, I am grateful he figured it out.
I am very aware of how certain things affect me,
but trying to explain to others who can't relate
because they've never felt the peace that happens
when it's quiet can be perplexing.
We obviously have screens, but we try to keep it reasonable.
 It was wonderful to see that it's not just us "old-folks."
And it makes me think how much better off children
could be if certain things were put in check.
I will say, it feels as good to get rid of audial clutter
as it does to get rid of visual clutter.
I'm not finished with either of course~
that would be too good :-)
But I keep plugging away.
Every bit of clutter sent on its way or noise quieted
allows for a little deeper breath and peace of mind.
The other thing that becomes noticeable is what remains.
The sounds of a bird chattering or the wind chime hanging by the back stoop.
Gentle sounds remain and sing to ones soul.
For me, it was an accident.
I started by wanting to lower our power bill 
so went through each room and unplugged everything.
As an item was needed, I would plug it in.
I was surprised at how few things got plugged back in
and how much quieter the house felt.
The little charging lights or vibrations create a sort of "noise".
Again, it's an ongoing process.
We seem to go through phases,
but I know now to look for things to unplug. 
If you're feeling overly stressed,
maybe begin by unplugging and listening for the quiet.
The quiet we hear penetrates and brings quiet to us inside.
I wish for each of you that peace.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A Different Kind of Shopping

For the record, I don't like shopping.
Searching for ways to give my money to others
is not my idea of a good time.
There are however, a few things I am always shopping for.
I keep a short list of items I need or would like.
This isn't like the milk and eggs list, but it is similar.
There's just no store that carries the items I'd like to purchase.
Before I get to the items on my list, 
I have to take you down a different path for just a moment.
As far as the milk and eggs above, I've sourced them locally
along with most other items one would usually purchase from the grocer.
I'm not saying I never need a grocer, 
but my dependency is lessening all the time.
I still like coffee, olives, Worcestershire sauce and a few other items 
which are not local or if we want a produce item that is not in season.
If something happened to the supply chain,
we would live (okay, maybe not so happily without coffee, but...).
Honestly, of all the things, raw organic/non-gmo milk was one of the most difficult to source simply due to state laws rather than supply.
It's unfortunate that wholesome foods can be so difficult to find.
I know others who think I'm a bit silly for this, but so be it.
We are healthy, and I accredit it in a large part to this effort.
Now on to the fun list.
There are a few things which probably seem odd to some folks,
but one of the things that I've been on the hunt for for at least a few years now
is a cobbler machine (pictured above).
This machine can stitch leather and has a narrow foot base
so it can reach in shoes.
My regular sewing Singers are all "ladies," but this one is a fellow.
I named him Sidney Singer.
My sewing machines have names because I can't just say "the Singer."
I'm pretty specific in my wants, but I have my reasons.
I wanted an old machine and a Singer.
Old machines have all metal parts.
Even in the best newer machines, there are plastic parts.
Sidney was born in 1906.
The other thing particular to Singer is that there are parts schematics available.
They were made to work and be repairable.
The schematics identify each part down to the size of spring.
And, because Singer is still in business, some of the parts are still available.
All of his mechanical parts are in working order though there are a few issues.
As is, he has neither the knob to be hand-crank, a motor to be electric, 
or the original treadle to be foot powered.
There was a single bobbin that came with him.
His bobbin winder is missing.
He was absolutely filthy!
This was in addition to a bucket of soapy water!
The first thing I did was take the soap and water to him on the outside.
I also had a scraper to get some of the crud off.
Then I worked on "his joints."
Someone had gobbed a bunch of 5 in 1 grease in it.
On the positive side, I guess it helped prevent rust,
but there was so much dirt and grit in there, I didn't want to turn the wheel.
I got him all cleaned up.
I ordered a set of bobbins which have already arrived.
I found the proper bobbin winder and am waiting for that.
I have a knob to add to his wheel so he can have hand-crank.
And now that I have him cleaned up,
I will call the local sewing machine repair shop that has taken care
of my other machines and ask about a motor for him.
I don't mind that he doesn't have the treadle at the moment.
He is on a smaller stand that came with him.
It does have the cast iron legs that are part of a regular treadle.
I've been working on a slipper pattern and am excited to work on that.
Once I have him in a solid functional state, I will order leather.
I want to be sure of what leather I am getting
and get the correct weight for what I will be doing.
Leather's not the cheapest of materials so it has to be right.
I am pretty excited (an understatement)
but have been patient in my search 
so need to be patient in readying him for work as well.
As I said above, I looked for a few years before finding him.
There have been other things that have taken a while,
and those things are among my most cherished items.
(That sounds weird.  I don't worship them, but am content with them.)
I think part of it is that if you're willing to wait,
you don't end up settling for something lesser than what you want.
A few examples:
I know these things aren't exactly on par with diamonds,
but they make me far happier than jewels.
So with this oddball list, what could possibly be left on my list?
Well, a few more oddities of course.
Yet to find:
A cider press (like this one)
An old (not new repro) cast iron single sink with double drain board.
And yep, there's a reason for the old part - the shape of the basin is different.
A stove-top, corning, avocado green, percolator coffee pot.
McCall apron pattern 1105
and a few other smaller things.

We live in an age of instant gratification.
That avocado green coffee pot has been on my list for almost a decade.
You can bet whenever I do find one, I will relish every cup of coffee
I drink from that pot.
It's the same with Sidney.
Hubby has laughed at me (kindly) when my bobbins arrived, and
when I got him cleaned up & tension adjusted, 
then stitched a little scrap of leather.
I'm sure he will get to laugh again when my bobbin winder arrives.
He laughs but is coming up with projects for me to make for him - Ha!
I told him my slippers are first.

I'd be curious if anyone else keeps a list like this.
I guess it's my form of shopping.
I don't mind waiting - none of these items are life threatening.
They are just items that make life either easier or more enjoyable.
As long as I don't find them, I just figure I'm saving money by not buying them.

It's okay if you think I'm a bit silly~ so be it.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Heart Maintenance

 Happy day dear friends.
It has been a while since I've wandered down this path
of blog post writing hasn't it?
Old paths are not forgotten.
They hold on to strings that secure the heart.
Many of you who have been here a while
already know my heart tends to lean towards long ago times.
It seems the more the world rushes forward
chasing technology, current trends, and cyber everything,
the more I recede into the folds of history.

For the past month or so, 
I've been doing what I call "heart maintenance." 
The man who was like my second father growing up
passed away the end of January.
(Did I mention that previously?)
It was not unexpected, but we are never really ready for such things.
It kinda hit me.
In addition, there have been vile words shot out
from so many directions in our society.
I've shunned nearly all news opting instead for silence.
I've tried to avoid going into any public places.
Of course it could vary greatly by area,
but having beliefs yelled at you 
regardless if you agree or disagree is not pleasant.
It's just wearing and disheartening.
I've chosen to focus instead on those few things
that I know to be steady and kind.

The winter weather is subsiding and there are buds on the trees and bushes.
Though it's not really growing or very green,
I mowed the lawn.
It was so shaggy and mowing cleaned it up tremendously
until it starts growing for summer.
I'm anxious to get out into the garden
but know better than to plant too soon.
It does one good to listen to the birds and get caught up in digging in the dirt.
There's something healthy about the dirt.

I've also been working on "fine-tuning" in the realm of decluttering.
You would think I had next to nothing left, but ah - always more.
I'm going through about 30 years of photos.
It's difficult because if I put it away, it's as though it disappears-
but it doesn't go away!  Errrg!
I am making progress, but it's tedious.
I've also been going through the computer.
I am down to 116 emails in files.
My goal is 0, zero, zip, nadda.
It's difficult when there are legal correspondence (estate)
and genealogy information.
Here is part of my receding ~
I have my little old Acer with lots of family pictures,
my iPad with books, and the large mac computer with some pictures
and files (docs.) etc. 
The Acer barely works and no longer connects to internet.
The iPad is on it's last legs, won't open many pages, and will just go black
while in the middle of reading a page.
The space-hogging mac is not far behind these two and is now evidently allergic 
to anything that has to do with photos.
I got a new lap-top and an external hard drive and
am working to get everything moved to one spot
which is another tedious job and is proving trickier than it sounds.
Once I have everything off of the old pieces, I will dispose of them
and have one computer slightly larger than a book.
I want to minimize the sources of pollution in our home.
By pollution, I mean anything not welcome both internal and external:
internal like news or ill humored media and
external like unhealthy lights or toxic chemicals.
I can't do anything to change what I've not created or what others do,
but I don't have to welcome it into my home; I can refuse it.
It doesn't prevent it from being, 
but it does keep it from infecting my heart and my home.
This sounds extreme, but I can feel the difference.
My heart is getting better. 

In addition to all of this,
I still go to work and have to deal with the current issues
facing anyone trying to run a business today.

I realize this post is kinda all over the place - 
that's my life right now.
But you know what?
There is something else.
Inside, secure in my heart, wrapped with those strings
that always hold, there is a peace.
I know my heart is in the right place and
whatever becomes of this day, or tomorrow, or the day after that,
it is well.
Someone far greater than I has it handled so
I don't have to worry.
And this is where I'm at.
Hidden away in my own little life that might seem insignificant
to anyone looking in from outside.
But full of faith and fortune knowing we are all called home at some point.
I actually find comfort in that rather than fear of it.
We all need to know our heart.
It can sure be difficult with so many distractions
vying for our attention.
All I can say is, once you focus in-heart, it's worth it.
Quiet the noise.
Dim the glaring lights.
Still the busy.
Calm the chaos.
Rid the excess.
And then. . . you will hear your heart.
And that
is a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 15, 2021

A Letter From a Friend

Laura says February is letter-writing month so I'm writing y'all a letter.  

Hello Dear Friend,
     Just thought I'd drop a line and say Hi.  You said your weather was not so much to your liking.  Well now, you should see what Old Man Winter has in store for us.  I am actually fond of the snow.  I would prefer to stay home and drink tea and bake cookies, but alas I must venture out to what is necessary.  We are encroaching on St. Valentine's Day.  Do you have a sweetheart?  I hung the pendant I made across the bookshelves.  I need to do something different with it, because I can't see the clock.  I only know what time it is by the chimes, or I have to go in and look at the clock on the coffee pot.  Some folks still have their Christmas trees up and have them decorated for Valentine's.  I put our tree out of the house 2 days after Christmas.  It's in the burn pile now.  I certainly wouldn't want to try to dust a tree.
Do you decorate for St. Valentine's Day?  I was thinking about the little cards we used to exchange when we were kids.  They were sure cuter than what was available last time I saw any.  We were careful about which card we gave to which person.  Friends received the "best" ones and those we were only obligated to give to got the ones with a nice wish but no indication of liking them - Egads!  We wouldn't have wanted that.  That sounds so mean now looking back, but as kids, we only felt what we felt.  
     Well, as I said above, we are supposed to be in for some real winter weather.  It's snowing now, and the ground is white.  We were supposed to have some friends over for Valentine's dinner but the weather is keeping them afar.  It's difficult being away from friends and family but good to know they are warm and safe rather than stranded on the edge of a road somewhere between here and nowhere.  The weather will break and the mud will soon be with us.  That's the part I don't care so much for is "mud season."  At least I'm not trying to pack water out to the critters in 5 gallon buckets in it.  That was always the worst. Now we just have Rip's heated water dish to keep full and Hucklebunny's water to defrost and refill morning and night.  She's so funny.  She gets grumpy when her water freezes.  I don't blame her, but it's still funny.
     I stepped aways from this to get supper going and here it is Presidents Day.  We have a couple feet of snow on the ground.  This is the most snow I've seen since we've moved here.  The past two nights in particular were very cold.  We brought Hucklebunny and Rip in the house for the night.  They each have heat lamps and their own houses, but we were concerned it wouldn't be enough.  They didn't seem to mind.  Bunny was ready to go out to her hutch in the morning.  She doesn't like to potty in her carrier.  I've also filled the bird feeder each morning since the snow has fallen.  The little birds are flocked around the house.  The lilac bush has little feathered globes on nearly every branch :-)  Today was slightly warmer but more snow is expected tonight.  Then tomorrow is back to work and is supposed to be 5-10 degrees warmer yet.  Hopefully it will be enough to thaw the roads.  I saw the plow go by earlier so it shouldn't be too bad.  The rigs going by are still driving pretty slow.  
Yesterday, we went skiing for St. Valentine's Day.  I didn't seem to have my "ski legs" on.  They felt like lead so I was sticking to the calm runs and not going crazy.  I don't know the mountain very well so generally just do the couple of runs I'm familiar with.  Well, late in the day, I thought I was going down one of the easier runs and ended up on a run called "ego" because you have to have quite the ego to go down it.  It is narrow and was mogulled out.  Suffice it to say, I should not have been on that run!  I eventually made it down but was wiped out by the time I reached the bottom.  It took me longer to get down that section of the run than it did for me to do a whole run that matches my level (my level being not that great.)  It was still a good day.  It snowed all day and the trees were simply gorgeous.
I could have tried to go into work this morning but not sure how much I would have been able to do with most other businesses closed.  So I stayed home.  I've been trying to work on making a slipper pattern.  I tried 3 different styles and didn't like any of them so am fashioning my own.  I think I've come up with one that will work.  When I get it all worked out, I'll share more about it.  I deep cleaned the kitchen which was very much needed.  I think after supper, I will turn the self-clean cycle on in the oven.  It needs it and produces quite a bit of heat over the course of several hours which might help keep the heater from kicking on quite as much.  Better now than in summer I'm thinking.  I need to go finish up a load of laundry so will try to get this in the mail before I start on the folding.
Hope you are keeping warm my friends.  Would love to hear from you.