Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Tools Are For Using

 Have you ever had something occur
multiple times within a relatively short period of time
so much so that you took notice?
Well, over the past couple weeks, 
there has been a trend that actually irks me a little
(or a lot but I'm being nice here.)
I had a birthday recently and the day of my birthday,
Hubby took me to a Vintage Peddlers event
and a couple estate sales.
This was nice on multiple accounts.
First, everyone seemed so happy to be back "out."
These were the first of such events in two years.
So many smiles that are no longer hidden.
It felt good to hear clearly and see those smiles.
Secondly, I did find a couple goodies.
I've been on a book fetish for about the past month
and found 4 or 5 new to me books.
"Household Manual" is C. 1874 and lists opium 
as a treatment for various ailments.  
It's intriguing, but I probably won't use that advice.
I also found a new piece of cast iron that intrigued me.
It's a Scotch pot so has a rounded bottom.

I use cast iron almost every day so it's not like it won't get used.
The rounded bottom is for porridge and broth and
things that have to be stirred constantly so they don't scorch.
While researching this, I came across a beautiful old cauldron
that was advertised as having holes already drilled in the bottom
so it was ready for planting.
They ruined it!  Blasphemy!
I already have a cauldron and have used it a couple times.
I love it and consider it a very valuable tool.

Another thing I found extremely reasonably
was this cultivator.
Never mind the feline photo bomb.
The metal is in surprisingly good condition.
As I told the lady I wanted it and was paying for it,
she said it will look lovely in a flower garden.
I minded myself and thanked her nicely.
It has a purpose!
It is actually an adjustable dual cultivator.
I've ordered new handles and will condition the metal 
when I replace the handles. 
After that, I will use it in the garden. 
It is such that I can weed on either side of a row with one pass.
Then lastly, I found a couple little old iron trivets.
I washed them and want to put little tabs on the feet prior to using them, but this is the kicker.
My own mom ~
Oh those are cute.  Are you going to hang them on the wall?
When I answered rather like a crazy woman
that they were a tool not an ornament,
and why do people want to use tools as decorations,
and maybe more people should be working and using tools
rather than decorating things.
She laughed at/with me.
(I was not mad, just in a comical rant.)

It has made me think though.
Maybe this really is part of what is wrong with today.
I am aware there are many blessings in every day.
Please don't think I am not thankful for them.
Even the above scenarios,
I am thankful they were brought to light.
Maybe, just maybe, we tend to see others
for their decorative qualities rather than their real purpose.
If we can get past the goofy hair style
or the old fashioned clothes or the way they speak,
maybe we can see the real purpose
of them as a person.
I am as guilty as the next person.
I am not into colored hair or trendy fashions
so tend to think a certain way about those who choose such.
It's no more right of me to think my way
than it would be for them to think whatever they might of me
with my silver strands standing among the others
 just like they belong there and my work clothes that even 
when clean have stains and occasional frays.
If we can put our biases on hold for a moment or two and listen to what others say or to what kindness they might mean
then we might at least get a glimpse of them as a person.
We don't have to like everybody.
With all honesty, we most certainly won't like everybody.
That's okay.
It would however, be nice if we didn't automatically
peg them to a wall, drill them, or put them out.
We can treat them as we know we should.
Even if we don't have use for their purpose,
someone might come along who will give them a handle or two
and help them live to their purpose.


Monday, March 28, 2022

Something or Nothing Important

 Hello Friends~
It's nearly the end of March.
That seems a little unreal since we just celebrated
the arrival of the New Year.
The days are getting longer no matter which time
they choose to call it.
It certainly is a true spring.
One day it's freezing and the next is sunny.
For the past two years, I've had very few blossoms
on my lilac bush which is directly out the kitchen
window as it should be.
I figured out a little too late last year
that it was due to being so dry.
I've been keeping my eye on it this year.
And of course so far we've had decent precipitation.
I'm not complaining about that as I'm looking forward
to seeing and smelling those amazing clumps of beauty.
This past weekend, we ended up getting a new rototiller.
We meaning Hubby.
Then he "played" with it most of the day Sunday.
We had so many weeds after last year's heat dome.
Our grounds that we till are all nice and clean now.
Now, we'll just have to keep them weed free.
Then of course it will be planting time.
It's always so exciting when things go in the ground.
It's a true season of hope and expectation.
As we place that tender little green in the dirt,
we can almost taste the delicious fruits and veggies.
Isn't that how it should be?
We should see promise in more things.
Last year, on a whim (shame on me)
I bought a little greenhouse on clearance.
I am now glad I did.
I'm having so much fun with it.
Now I want a bigger one (oy!).
I have my peppers: jalapenos and Anaheim,
tomatoes: three varieties, sweetpeas, hollyhocks,
balsam, cabbage, broccoli, and some herbs.
I've enjoyed watching the little seeds emerge and spring to life.
It seems almost silly that one can be excited over
such a little event.
Then again, it seems silly that one wouldn't be excited
for such a happening.
It's the silly little things like a sprouting seed 
or a bulging bud about to burst open 
that bring so much joy to life.
The big events are going to happen.
They refuse to be ignored.
But the little things that cost nothing and happen quietly
can lift a spirit if only they are noticed.
Those little unimportant things are really significant.
As we progress into spring,
I'm trying to take my own advice 
and minimize screen time.
In winter with the long evenings,
it's easy to justify when it's dark and not much is happening.
There are things I want to do now with longer days.
Also, there is a lot that I don't think is healthy right now
or maybe just not healthy for me.
There are so many living in fear, in anger, or in naïve bliss.
Just because the weather is stormy in one area of life,
doesn't mean it can't be sunny in another.
Just as a blizzard is blowing in one place and
in another the warm rays are tanning bare feet.
I feel like I need to find peace in those sunny spots of life.
So if I'm not around making lots of comments,
please forgive me.
Sometimes, I need to listen more than speak
which is the opposite of much online interaction.
I'm here.
I'm living.
I just have to catch my breath
and find some peace in nature.
Doing simple tasks with no interference or interruption
has become a rarity.
That's part of what I'm seeking - 
that completion of thought.
That's the peace I'm looking for right now.
I hope that makes sense.
Until next time~
enjoy this beautiful spring.

*Sandy: thank you for your messages.  You have no reply.


Monday, February 28, 2022

To Make

 Most of you who have been around any length of time
have probably figured out that I don't let not knowing
how to do something stop me.
That's not always a good thing, but . . .
I have learned so much by doing.
Children also typically learn by doing
so this can be rewarding on multiple levels.
Perhaps you've not noticed, 😉
but things have been a little sketchy for the past year or so.
It doesn't appear as though the current stresses
are going to be alleviated any time soon.
With that in mind,
I'd like to share something that happened to me years ago.
We lived about 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store.
This was when we were living up the mountain.
I was getting supper ready, making enchiladas
with left over roast beef.
I was getting everything out and ready when I realized
I didn't have any enchilada sauce.
I was evidently set on those enchiladas (still love them!)
I thought, "This is nuts.  There has to be a way to make it.
I'm sure they didn't just go buy it years ago in Mexico."
I think that was it - the moment I started asking the question,
"Can I make it?"
I don't recall ever being afraid of making things,
but that moment sticks in my head as the moment 
I was no longer interested in purchasing things that
for so long I didn't think of as being optional.
That first batch of enchilada sauce wasn't supreme,
but it was good.
I don't think I've purchased enchilada sauce since then.
Like most recipes, they are better once changed-up 
to suit our own tastes.
Since then, I've figured out how to make so many things.
Not just in the kitchen.
It's become a way for me. 
(again maybe not always a good thing)
Regardless of what it is, I tend to ask if I can make it or do it
rather than buying it which is really no more than paying
someone else to do it for me.
Over the years, it's been a good thing.
The first perk is that it nearly always saves money.
Other perks to making your own or doing for yourself are
you can make it exactly how you want it, and
you are not reliant on anyone else for it.
That last part in particular is important right now.
It seems to vary by area,
but I've experienced, read of, heard of 
not being able to find certain items (shortages),
and not being able to have someone do certain jobs.
An example: Some shingles blew off our roof. 
It was about 3-4 months before 
someone could come take care of it.
It's been like that with mechanics for the rigs also.
I could make a longer list, 
but I have a feeling most of you get it.
The thing is, there's a lot we can do our selves.
From changing battery cables to that enchilada sauce,
you can do it.
Changing a battery cable requires only that you know the difference between red and black and are able to operate a screw-driver or wrench.  It really is that simple.
Enchilada sauce is no more than tomato sauce and broth 
(or water in a pinch) with a couple spices stirred in. 
Now, why on earth would we want to change our own cables 
or make our own sauces?
You might choose not to.
That's up to you.
But there is no guarantee that the products & services
will remain available as many of us have learned.
What is available right now is knowledge.
There are online instructions for just about everything.
We each live in our own way, and
we each have things that are important to us.
I could tell you to learn how to make your own cat food,
but if you don't have a cat, that would be useless.
So I guess what I am suggesting is that you ask yourself
the question - Can you make or do it yourself?
I will make a list of some of the things we make or do ourselves.
If I have done a post, I will link it.
If there is something on the list I've not posted on,
feel free to ask.

Enchilada Sauce
Taco Seasoning
Poultry Seasoning
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Meals (cook at home)
Canned Foods 
(multiple canned foods so won't link, please use search tool)
Process Meat Animals
Small Sitting Bench
Socks (I'm still learning)
Gifts (so many possibilities!)
Linen Bath Towels
Hand Towels
Pillow Cases
Lotion & Lotion Bars
Laundry Soap
Body Soap
(I see they are 8 yrs. old, only 1 has needed repair.)
Chicken Coop
Change Vehicle Oil & simple maintenance
I'm sure there are more things I'm not remembering.
Once you get started, you will discover that it does
become a way of living.
You won't think twice about it.
You will also find that many items are multipurpose.
This means with a few basic ingredients,
you can make many products.
An example is tomato sauce:
think of all the dishes you can make with it.
Olive oil is similar in the hygiene/apothecary dept.
A few basic tools will enable you to do many 
mechanical and home/construction tasks.

One more thing to think about ~
As with most things, experience expedites most projects.
I work outside the home so time is a very real factor.
We can't do it all, all at once, all the time, every time.
We are human and can only do what we can.
This is why humans develop communities.
For me, doing things myself brings peace of mind.
That peace of mind equals less worry and less stress.
Having restored a trailer (with MUCH help from Hubby), 
I'm not sure I'd be up to do that again.
I don't regret having done it.
It was sorta fun (that's a big sorta!) but
it was a lot of work and time consuming.
But now, I've done it.
Nobody can take that knowledge away from me.
Once you've done something,
you can then judge or prioritize accordingly.
I prefer to wash my own car.
I do a far better job and get in the door jams, gas hatch and
double scrub the grill and wheels.
There are times however, I don't have time
and go through one of those drive throughs.
I might grumble a little about the price for the outcome,
but it's all on me, my decision.
It is empowering to be able to make that decision,
not only with a simple car wash, but with many
aspects of our lives.
And lastly, there is something to producing something 
with your own two hands.
There seem to be so many jobs today that have nothing to show for the hours of input.
To actually produce something or fix something 
feeds the soul and is visual feedback for your labor.
I know this sort of feeling well.
I like to be able to see what I've done
even if it's washing the dishes or mowing the lawn.
I can see the results of my labor and that fuels me.
I love the reassurance of pulling up a video if I'm uncertain,
then giving it a shot.
Success doesn't happen without trying.
And. . .
It only takes a question.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Almost St Valentine's ❤️

 It's almost St. Valentine's Day 💖
It's a day I love.
When the kids were little, we had an advent for it.
Each day they got a little tid-bit in their mailbox.
When we first began doing it, they each had a tin cup,
and each morning they would check their tin cup
for a goody.
Then one year, I found little mailboxes.
Those filled with treats was their Valentine that year.
We kept them and used them each year after that.
I still have the tin cups and have given them their mailboxes.
There is even a larger tin cup with a label my daughter made,
because they had each made me a card or surprise.
Alas, my kids are grown.
I just mailed off a little Valentine package to each of them
in this morning's mail.
Several years ago, a friend shared some spice thins with me.
They were a store bought cracker/cookie 
that's now been discontinued.
They were delicious, and I finally found a recipe
 that is remarkably close and equally delicious.
I will share the link to the recipe I used at the end of this post.
So I made some of those and some button-ups.
Button-ups are essentially a shortbread cookie,
partially dunked in chocolate and topped with a cinnamon candy.
I also did some chocolate hearts but had them all boxed up
and had forgotten to take a picture.
Another fun little treat for this week is a blossom.
I have been given multiple starts 
of my great-grandmother's geranium plant.
Each and every one has met its fate.
It is a true deep red.
My mom gave me her plant (from Ggma) at the end of summer.
It needed trimming and was "spent" looking.
I kept 4 stems and stuck them in starter pots of soil.
Three have lived and one died.
Of the 3 that lived, 2 are blooming.
They are certainly a cheery sight during the winter gloom.
They have been fun and easy to propagate.
I don't have room inside so they only get a north facing window.
I guess they don't mind.
And the plant Ma gave me is looking good too.
On a side note:
I also have a pole bean and a tray of spinach planted.
I just can't help myself.
I purchased one of those little green houses on clearance last fall,
but it's still too cold for it.
I will probably set it up the end of the month and
see what kind of trouble I can cause in the garden.
(Never mind the dirty window.  Tis the season.)

All and all, blooms and treats~
It must be Valentine's.


Sunday, January 30, 2022

~ Quiet ~

 We are making our way through January aren't we?
We've had some wonderful snow storms
and some crazy wind
which actually blew the porch cover off the entrance 
to our house!
I won't go into the silly things that have been done
to this sweet old farm cottage in which we live.
There are better things to dwell upon.
Our temperatures being true winter temps.,
have put a hush on area.
It's one of those quiets you can hear. 
I actually like winter months and long evenings,
though I do miss our wood heat.
And by March, I am among the first chomping at the bit
to be out playing in the dirt.
But for right now I have plenty to do.
I would call this
"the time to keep."
In keeping our homes, there are so many tasks.
It's funny how easily they are overlooked when we are on the run,
but slow down for a few minutes or sit a little longer in the evening and you begin to notice.
How did that happen?
Or, when did that get there?
I will tell you, I have darned 5 pairs of socks
 and have 4 more pair yet to do!
I also saved what beans we harvested just to eat as beans
so have been shelling/cleaning those.
That has to be one of the most boring jobs ever,
but there's time to do it.
And I'm grateful for them.
We had such a strange summer with that "heat dome"
our garden and canning seemed off for the whole of summer.
I also finished the hand quilting
 of a quilt I started some time back.
I have 2 potholders to stitch the binding on and
another pair of socks started.
The first pair of socks I made (for me) fit my dad!
He likes them, says they are warm.  
I'm glad they were green and not pink and purple.
I am almost to the heal of the new sock.
The chickadees are still about and flutter around the feeder
where I can see and enjoy them.
We've now only traces of dirty snow where it was drifted.
Most of it is gone so everything looks grey.
It makes me want to sit and drink tea and read a book,
which I have done a little bit of.
I relish a good read and cup of tea time.
I've been reading "nice" books as a bit of a counter 
to all that is heard elsewhere.
Near my chair are:
"Country Chronicles" by Gladys Taber

"The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac" 
by Mary Mason Campbell

"Southern Jack Tales" by Donald Davis

I might start the second book in "The Little House" series.
I read the first book which was good.
I learned that she had originally written it for adults with a lot more description but was told by publishers that it was too dark.
So she rewrote it as she did aimed towards children.
Though dark, it makes me wonder if those original manuscripts still exist somewhere.
Her life wasn't easy.  What lessons we could learn.
And what gratitude it might provoke.

And lastly, I have open to read online, 
"The Lady's Annual Register and Housewife's Memorandum Book
for 1838" by Caroline Gilman
This is an interesting piece in that it will have a recipe,
a bit of poetry, instructions on how to clean a specific item,
information about a ladies' group, etc.
It seems very random but makes for quick reading if you only have a short time.
And since typing the above and having it nearly ready,
I came down with the virus.
It literally flattened me.
I am still recovering but am thinner and weaker at the moment.
I am slowly trying to get my house back in order.
It's amazing how those little things we do daily 
to keep the house all add up.
It will get there.
The perk of sleeping for 2 weeks straight is that I spent
zero dollars for 2 weeks.
Talk about saving money :-)
I am seeing how long I can go without any "extra" purchases,
meaning I will obviously pay our power or get milk etc. 
but no extra things.
We now have only 2 days until February 
and somehow as cold as the month is, 
it seems warmer with endearments since St. Valentine's Day
is a couple weeks in.
When the children were little,
we did an advent to St. V Day.
They loved it.
I've always liked St. Valentine's Day.
Love, Chocolate, & Flowers~
What's not to love?
I prefer to do my "Holiday" baking in February
because there is nothing else going on.
In December, we are always over extended so I don't like to 
add more to the list during that time.
Hopefully, I will be able to share what goodies 
I decide upon as it gets closer.
Until then,
keep well and warm dear friends.