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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Glad Tidings of Christmastime ~ A Story for Young and Old


All across the mantel were pine greens and cones and red bows.
The bows were not velvet as seen in some of the more affluent homes but were made with more love and cheer than most of the velvet ones.  These bows however, were of a simple 
cotton and heavily starched so they looked crisp and bright.
To one side of the fireplace was a wood-box freshly piled
with split wood for warmth through the night 
and for the morning water pot.
source
That's the same wood box where little toes perched
in order to reach the nail where a little stocking was hung.
Next to that little stocking was a slightly larger one,
but no perch was needed to hang it.
And between those two stockings, there was a happy feeling 
that wasn't there the day before.
To know what brought that happy feeling about,
we must back up to the day before.
That little stocking usually warms the foot of a little girl
named Alice who has all of 6 years to her name.
The larger of the two stockings is that of her brother Billy
who is a very grown up 8 years old.
Billy had worked hard all year trying to save
 for a cake with white sugar and icing on it.
He was studious but had a sweet tooth and been saving all year
so that he might buy a ten-penny treat.
As hard as he worked, he was but able to save 7 pennies.
He was just a boy after all and those willing to pay a child 
for his labor were few.
The day before Christmas with scorn in his heart for himself and the disappointment of not having a ten penny treat by Christmas
as he had planed, Billy sat on the front step in the cold feeling sour and rolling the pennies in his hand.  As he was feeling such, his mind eventually wandered to Alice and what she might be thinking about Christmas.  She never seemed to mind
that there might be so little for Christmas.
It was then that an idea occurred to him.
He arose and headed into town.
He went directly to the stationary shoppe where old Mr. Watson
tended to customers wishing for specially cut cards and notes with script his young eyes could not yet read.
He spoke to Mr. Watson with some hesitation and explained his situation. He thought if he couldn't have what he wanted, at least Alice should have some happiness on Christmas morning.
She loved to draw and Billy knowing she had some papers 
hoped to find some colored pencils for her.  Every chance she had, Alice would walk through the store gazing in awe at all the finery and colorful papers.  After divulging his narrative rapidly for fear of it being rejected, he waited to hear a response.
  With large knowing eyes, Mr. Watson stood looking at young Billy silently for a moment.
He paused then said he thought he had just the thing
for a young budding artist and showed him some pencils that were 1 penny each.
Billy bought seven of them, one black and one each of the six basic colors.  He thanked Mr. Watson as he put the pencils in his pocket and left the shoppe to return home.
Mr. Watson watched Billy as he walked down the street.
It wasn't until another customer broke his thoughts with a question that he returned to his present task.
That evening Father read from the Bible how the baby Jesus
was born in a stable and wise men came to visit then he and Mother sent Billy and Alice to bed with Christmas in their hearts.
Ever so quietly as Alice was doddering to her bed, Billy
quickly pulled the pencils from his coat pocket and dropped them in her little stocking then followed quickly after her to his own bed.  They both shut their eyes with great anticipation for the following morning.
It was still dark when their eyes did open.  Only a faint light marking the beginning of the shortest day created shadows of trees and mountains out the window.
The two raced to Mother and Father's bedroom to wake them
for it was Christmas morning.
Pulling themselves out of bed with the help of two excited children, 
Mother and Father also rose.
They entered the parlor and Father got the fire going while Mother lit a lantern since it was earlier than they usually awoke.
She put the water on as Father said, "Well, let's see what we have here." He took the stockings from the mantel and handed them to their perspective owners.
In each, there was an orange and a peppermint stick.
Oh but there was more.
Alice put in her small hand and drew out a whole handful of beautiful new pencils.  And Billy drew out three pennies.  
Mother and Father looked at each other since
mothers and fathers have a way of knowing certain things.
The children looked bewildered.
Alice appeared more shocked than pleased causing Billy to question whether or not she liked the pencils.
"Don't you like your pencils?" Billy asked with a sinking heart.
"Oh Billy, they are perfect."
"Then why don't you look happy?"
With the awkward grace of a six year old, she blurted,
"I took my papers in to town to trade them so you could get 3 more pennies and have your ten penny treat."
Billy now had the same expression as Alice.
They both looked at Mother and Father.
Father is the one who spoke, "Well, I'll be. You two seem to have read each others mind.  Maybe just as the baby Jesus couldn't yet use the gifts He was given, you aren't meant to use your gifts just yet.  They are gifts of love just the same."
Still slightly bewildered how it all worked out but happy in their hearts, the family dressed and prepared for the day.  
As they were finishing their breakfast,
there was a faint knock at the door.
Father rose to answer it, but when he did, there was nobody there.  Instead at his feet was a small bundle.  He looked around once more, but there being only a cold wind and no snow, he could not even see tracks as to which direction the package might have come from.
He took the bundle inside and placed it on the table to open it.
The family gathered watching in wonderment as Father revealed sweet potatoes, some papers, and a ten penny treat.  Now this part stumped Mother and Father for they could find no sign of who left such a gift.
But back in town, there was one wide eyed old man with a very happy and knowing heart.
And that Christmas day, 
there was great joy for both sides of the mystery. 

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Golden People

 We've had quite the schedule for the past month or two.
It's autumn which is harvest in our neck of the woods.
Last month started off with a trip to California for my grandmother's funeral.
She actually passed last year.
Her only request was a traditional Catholic funeral.
Well, it wasn't exactly traditional due to circumstances.
Her graveside service was last year, and we only this year
11 months after her passing were able to hold her funeral.
In a way, it kinda worked out.
She was 96, only a few months shy of 97 and was ready.
Our grieving was done, and we were able to gather
and celebrate her life and cherish the time spent with family.
It was a pretty small service.
She outlived most of her peers.
My aunt had asked us each to jot down a few things we remembered
or loved about her so they could put together a eulogy.
One of the things I mentioned was
she would wipe off and reuse a paper plate, save a tablespoon of food,
and be among the first to give if someone was in need.
I love that!
She always took care of her things.
She washed her car, windows, floors, etc. and
kept things in the best condition she could.
She grew up during the depression so knew the true value of things.
She never had a lot, but made the most of what she had.
When my aunt asked if there was anything in particular I wanted,
I didn't really have an answer - just my Grammy.
My aunt is wonderful, and I can say such things.
I told her if there was something silly like Grams favorite wooden spoon
or something she used and liked, I wouldn't mind something like that.
For my birthday, she sent me the fork and knife in the photo.
It was actually my great grandmother's then my grandmother's.
Both were very right handed so the left tine is worn.
I was young when she passed, but I remember my great grandma too.
I would sit on her lap, and she would let me have a lemon drop.
We almost never had candy so it was quite a treat.
This little set was the perfect gift, more valuable to me than gold.
And, yep, I use them.
They went directly in the cupboard with the salt and pepper
so I have them handy when I need them.
(Uncle Ray & Aunt Betty - brother and sister)

They are a wonderful reminder to me to take care of things so they'll last
which is kinda funny since for the past year or two,
I've been on a mission to have things in order and good condition.
I've had two chairs repaired which wasn't cheap,
but they are both antiques and were due.
They should both now last another 100 years.
I always seem to have a mend & repair pile.
I no sooner get the bulk of it dealt with when more goes in.
I've also been trying to keep the car up, the appliance clean and in good repair, and
the little things attended to if that makes sense.
There's more to all this though.
You see, there were a couple folks at Grammy's funeral of special importance.
Well, everyone there was important, but. . .
Uncle Ray and Aunt Betty were there.
Grammy's two remaining siblings.
Uncle Ray just turned 99 and is doing pretty good.
Aunt Betty is 97 and doesn't remember very well, but otherwise okay.
Grammy was between them in age.
I don't exactly get to California very often
so it's tough telling if I will ever get to see them again just due to age.
The time spent visiting with them and the stories about them
are what makes a family and keeps those ties snug.
When someone begins a story with,
"I'll tell ya something I can't tell most normal people,"
you know you're in the right place.
I know not everyone has a close family,
but a closely knit group of friends and community can still be had.
I think that's one of the things that's been difficult for me
over the past year or so: everyone seems so distant (not just physically).
The reminder being, we need to take care of our family
just like we need to take care of our things.
We need our family - by blood or by choice.
If you do have elderly folks in your clan,
maybe pay them a visit or a call.
That chat might just be worth more than gold.
And the memory made might just last a good long time.

As we head into the holidays,
I'd like to wish all of my blog friends here
a very blessed time.
~Happy Thanksgiving~







Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Of Tea & Labels

Okay dear friends.
Time for something pleasant.
I know coffee gets all the glory,
but tea really is a lovely drink.
It seems I'm always trying new teas.
My favorite tea was "lemon blossom" 
which was discontinued several years ago now.
Since then, I've stuck with mint tea but have searched
for a new favorite tea that I actually really enjoy and look forward to.
There are some pretty spendy teas out there!
Many of them don't taste like they should be spendy at all.
Well, I finally found not just a tea, but several
that I really savor.
Each one I've tried, I've loved!
Where?  
I think I've tried six or seven of their teas and
have purchased six of them so far. . . 
and there's another I want to try - citrus chill.
I am not connected with them and I don't get any payment from them
for saying these things.
I just really like their teas and appreciate finding them.
Of all their teas I've tried, I would describe them
as "whole flavors."
So often it seems like there is something missing (like flavor).
These taste complete.
So like I said, I've ended up with half dozen different teas.
I've had these bailor jars for ages.
I purchased them at a dollar store long ago,
and they've come in handy.
I decided they would be good for the teas.
I think they are as pleasing to look at as to drink - 
well, almost.
Many of you might have figured out by now 
that I'm more about function than about fashion.
I like things to look nice,
but when it comes down to it, it has to function
and be as usable as ever.

Weeeeellll. . . . story time 
Some time back, I purchased some attractive
reusable labels to give as a gift.
They were actually for my mom who loves lavender.
The labels are good quality and very pretty.
My mom loved them.
Where did I get these great labels?
I knew you'd ask.
(Again not affiliated)
But wait, that's not the end of the story.
So Jes has a way of making things beautiful.
She takes those extra steps and it shows.
When I received the labels for my mom,
there were also a few extras in the form of samples.
Those teas above in the bailor jars needed labels
and they were handy so I wrote 
the name of the tea and put them on the jars.
I used a fine point permanent marker.
If I ever want to change them,
a quick spritz with hairspray wipes it clean.
Hairspray also works for getting permanent marker out of jeans.
Don't ask me how I know that.
Anyways, those little samples worked!
I like that they are a nice quality unlike the little paper stickers.
End story: I ordered some for me and some more for Christmas gifts.
My family is to the point in life that we really don't need "things."
So we try to give smaller things that can be used or consumed.
These are perfect!
I am having so much fun using them.
They are both functional and beautiful.
Pantry stocking this time of year can be wearing.
I am still working on the tail end of tomatoes
and will be dehydrating greens and cidering some apples
within the next week.
It's pretty easy, for me at least, to just get the stuff canned
or jarred and not label it (for shame!)
I know - that's bad.
These are certainly handy and if I'm sipping tea
while I'm canning or prepping foods,
it makes for a much nicer time.
I've been on the go quite a bit lately,
but I wanted to post something nice.
These are the items that came to mind first.
They are things I am grateful for~
I hope you enjoy them.




 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

September~

 It's September~
Can you believe it?
September is that nondescript month without a season.
It makes up for it with all its activities.
For me, it's a time to preserve.
The gardens are growing in full force since the Heat Dome dispersed.
I've done pretty well this year so far.
The heat made things a little wonky, but it all somehow works out.
Now I'm down to tomatoes.
I was completely out of sauce and down to 5 jars of diced.
That's only 2-3 meals of diced for us depending upon what's cookin'.
I did not photoshop this pix.  They really look like that ­čśé

So I am trying to get them canned up while I can.
I have reusable lids so am getting used to those on things 
that only require water bath canning just in case of operator error.

During the 2 months of triple digit weather,
anything outside wilted about as quickly as the sun rose.
By the time the weather broke, most flowers at the markets 
were marked down for quick sale.
I happened upon some of them and rescued them from their
garbage bin destiny.
They have thanked me in the most generous way.
Their blooms are beautiful and though my little area
is still a work in progress, it is a welcome spot.
And I am thankful I was able to have a few flowers
to brighten the area even if a little later than usual.
My bean wall took forever to get going but now is going crazy.
The bean blossoms are usually white and some have been, 
but we are also seeing these beautiful spice colored flowers.
I think I have 3 different kinds of beans in here due to
them being eaten in the spring.

I have potatoes to dig and will be rearranging the raised beds 
before next year.
I have another idea for next year (heehee, go ahead and shake your head.)

And lastly, I started this post the beginning of the month,
but we've been hoppin'.
Hubby had a goal of 60 gallons of salsa this year.
We have currently made 99 quarts.
I had to chime in and tell him he can't hog all the tomatoes.
I still need more sauce.
Our pepper plants are going like gang-busters also,
and he doesn't want them "to go to waste."
I told him we could freeze some poppers to use some up.

I will get this posted and hopefully be able to put together
a more reasonable post soon.
Hope each of you is enjoying the turning of the leaves.



Friday, August 27, 2021

The Elephant in the Room

 Hello dear friends,
It's been a couple months since I last posted.
First, I will say that I received my new laundry basket and love it!
On the way to Portland

Secondly, I have just had a sour feeling in my gut.
I'm not talking about eating something odd.
The way people have been interacting towards each other
nearly makes me ill.
Not necessarily here on the blog
which is something I've strived to prevent,
but without you all being "grown ups" about things
it would not be possible and I thank you kindly.
Before I get to my point,
I'd like to share a bit of a story.
The gal who has been my best friend for over 20 years and I
haven't spoken since January.
We have laughed and cried and watched each other's family grow.
We've shared struggles and accomplishments as good friends do.
We don't share the same political views which hadn't been an issue
for about 19+ years.
Over the past couple years in particular,
I've strived to avoid any topic I thought might get political.
That alone, the not being able to discuss things was a red flag.
The last time we spoke,
I began telling her about driving a 1 ton duely pick-up pulling a 20' trailer 
full of metal through Portland, OR which I referred to as Looneyville.
I still call it that actually.
They drive like lunatics!
I had completely forgotten about the rioting going on,
but I was quickly reminded and got to listen to about a 15 min. spiel.
I didn't really respond, but when she finished, I continued about driving.
I don't know how she felt when I didn't "jump in" and argue.
That was the last time we spoke.
I miss my friend.
I know in her heart, she is a good person,
but she takes in a lot of media, and it shows.

And now back to the  point.
We are being pushed to conform.
Being pushed to conform creates division.
I really don't care which side you want to take.
And I do not want to try to force you to accept my views.
Grandma Donna did a post and mentioned people feeling
"the need to be right."
I really think she hit the nail on the head.
I tend to withdraw and pull away when something is being forced upon me.
I don't want to just dis media,
but it's not healthy or usually very accurate.
What you state as fact could very well be fiction,
but we like to believe or back up what we think it should be.
I am no exception to that other than I purposely limit any exposure to media
and when I want information, I try to go directly to the source 
rather than a reporter.
Even that can be difficult to do.
It is fine if we believe pro, con, yes, no, up, or down, whatever.
But we don't even have to share our opinion let alone
try to force someone else to accept it as right.
I want to say that one part again:
we don't even have to share our opinion.
In an age that seems eager to take surveys of our opinions,
that might sound like a foreign thought, but you really don't have to share it.
There are so many much more pleasant things we could talk about.

I got some flowers on the close-out shelf 
that have turned around and are gorgeous!

The full moon was so bright the other night,
it was still light at nighttime.

Our "Heat Dome" finally broke, and we have normal temperatures
so my tomatoes are finally producing - yay!
I just did 12 pints of diced and 3 half-pints of sauce.

You see?
It's okay~
We can still be kind.
We can still experience joy.
It's good to laugh.
Don't be afraid to give a loved one a hug.
Don't be afraid.

And lastly, I'd like to share a little reminder.
I learned this when I was knee high to a grasshopper
and I'm sure you know it too.
It's called The Golden Rule.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

At one point I wanted a banner of that over our door.
I still like the idea.

If I've seemed a little absent lately,
now you know why.
I've not made it around to very many blogs lately.
I will try, but sometimes we need to listen to what's inside of us
for a little while and get back to peace within.
I hope this day is good to you 
and that you are surrounded by people and things you love.

By the way,
Blogger is telling me this is my 400th post.
That is thanks to each of you.
Thank you.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Those Useful Things

 Y'all already know I'm nuts right?

I purposely try to give thanks when I meet 
a real, genuine, kind, and 
normal (by my standards whatever that might be) person.
This week, I met one of those people.
Some time back, I really worked on getting plastics out of our house.
There were some things that were easier than others.
One of the challenging things was to find a good laundry basket.
I did find one about a year ago, but it was expensive.
It was expensive enough that I went home and stewed on it
for a week or two before finally deciding to buy it.
I am hoping it lasts the rest of my life. 

I love my laundry basket!
Now how many people can really say that?  
As I said, I've used it for about a year.
It seems just as sturdy as the day I purchased it
and shows no signs of wear.
This was important to me if I was spending money on a basket.
We have a small area for laundry right inside our back entrance
so there's not a lot of extra room.
The basket sits on the washer 
and acts as our hamper during the week.
Laundry day, I set it on the floor to sort loads.
Then as each load is done, I take it out to the summer kitchen
where I have the clothes line set up.
We have so much wind here, 
it's almost impossible to hang clothes outside.
They get dirtier than before washing.
So I do the next best thing under the circumstances.
To haul the wet clothes out to the summer kitchen,
I use a slightly smaller basket that is. . . . 
plastic :-(
As far as plastic baskets go, it is a good shape and size
but it stands out in our home like you wouldn't believe.
I recently contacted the maker of my basket to inquire
if she would be willing to make me another one only slightly smaller so it will fit right inside the one I have.
She said she would and asked if I could bring my basket by
so that she could make sure it would fit as she was making it.
We made the necessary arrangements,
 and I dropped it off at her home.
I had never met her in person.
It took about a half an hour for me to simply drop off a basket.
She is a delightful person.
Isn't it funny how when we meet some people,
there is little to say and much silence.
Then with other people, it seems like there should be a pot of tea
so the conversation can keep going.
She was one of the later, and I was ever so grateful to meet her.
And aside from her genuine character,
she has a fabulous skill.
It will be a couple weeks before I get to use both of my baskets
to do the laundry.
Doesn't that sound silly~
to be anxious to use laundry baskets.
Well, that is my kind of excitement.
I truly appreciate quality items and even if a purchase is difficult
to bite off from a financial perspective,
not only not regretting a purchase but also being glad of it
is even better.  
And I'm learning more and more
quality people tend to make quality items.
Perhaps that's part of the draw.

That's all I really have for today.
I just wanted to share the appreciation of something good.
I hope each of you finds a bit of goodness today.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Other Ways

 So you might have figured out by now that I'm just not normal.

I'm getting more and more okay with that

the more I see what so called normal is.

                       I spoke a few posts back about a master list I keep

of things I'm continually on the lookout for.

Well this week, I got to mark another thing off the list.

This is about a 1940 model wringer washer that works!

Now I already had a wringer washer, but it didn't have a lid

and the head no longer swiveled.

Since I actually want to use it, not having a lid meant 

it wasn't okay to use in the house.

The water would splash all over.

Other than that, it works great, and I have used it a handful of times.

When we moved to the house we are in,

there was a new washer and dryer already in the house

so we intended on leaving our old washer and dryer up the river.

After using the new set a couple of times, we put it in the basement

and brought our old set from the mountain.

The new washer only put about 4" of water in the bottom

and the clothes came out in knots and dirtier looking than when they went in.

The dryer wasn't much better.

I use our old set and will until it dies at which time it will not be replaced.

I seldom use the dryer.

I do use it when crazy happens in life, and I just need to get laundry done,

but that isn't the norm and even in those circumstances, I could hang the clothes

and deal with the inconvenience.

The washer on the other hand, I use regularly (of course).

When the ol' trusty Kenmore dies, I don't want to be stuck

depending on a newer model.

                One thing I've strived for over the past however many years

is to replace newer inferior products with old dependable items.

Like I said, I had an old wringer that would work,

but if I had to use it regularly, it would be a little less than ideal.

That's why I was looking for an upgrade.


                        It's sure interesting how things work out sometimes.

Most of the old wringers I've seen that are in working order

have been selling for hundreds of dollars.

I had mentioned to a friend that I was looking for one.

This past week she let me know of one on FB marketplace.

I'm not on FB so it took a little coordinating,

but the end result is a couple days ago, this darling gem came home with me

for a very reasonable price.

It was funny when I went to look at it, the fella had it handy to look at.

It was in a little "town" of a couple hundred people out in the middle of nowhere.

There was an outlet right there, and I asked if I could plug it in.

He looked a little startled and asked, "Are you going to use it?"

I grinned ear to ear and replied, "Yep."

He looked amazed.

We plugged it in, and it worked fine so we loaded it up and I paid him.

Now whenever our washer gives out, we will be okay.

You'll laugh, but I refer to that as insurance & investment.

This is the kind of insurance I believe in.

I also see it as investing since I should never have to buy another washer.

These are work-horses, they last, and are repairable if they do breakdown.

If only I could find clothes and shoes that would last as long.

  

I was by myself so couldn't really get a picture while putting the clothes

through the wringer.

We get our work clothes really dirty

 so I was curious to see if they would get cleaner with this washer.

They do appear to be cleaner which is great.

The wringer didn't seem to get as much of the water out

as the spin cycle of the Kenmore, but that could be partially

due to operator inefficiency.

It had been a long time since I used a wringer for laundry.

So they did take a little longer to dry, but that wasn't a big deal to me.

Like I said, I will continue to do laundry with our "regular" washer,

but I really like knowing that I have a back up

and that it really wasn't that big of a deal to use it.

I used it outside and don't have it set up in an optimal situation,

but it was only a test run.

If I was going to use it regularly,

I would have it set up so that filling it with water and draining it

were easier.

The other note is that I did a full load of laundry.

The basin looks so much smaller and is easier to reach 

because of the shape, but I fit just as many clothes in it

as in the large capacity Kenmore washer.

I guess other than letting you know I'm a little goofy,

I'd like to encourage you to think outside of the box a little

when it comes to things we do as part of our routine

without giving much thought to what goes into it.


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.