Monday, December 19, 2022

Simple Traditions

 Good Morning Dear Friends
We have been busy as ever 
as I am sure many are this time of year.
For many in the trades,
 work seems to slow down about now through spring.
That's not happened for us since opening the business.
Though a bit of a break would be nice at times,
it truly is a blessing to have the work.
(This is the one for our friends.)

Every year, we go get our Christmas tree
about a week to week and a half before Christmas.
We put real candles on the tree
so there is no way we could have a month old tree
and not have a fire hazard.
Also, I'm not sure I could handle a tree in the house
for that length of time.
It always feels nice and clean when it all comes down
and is put away for another year.
(A clear beautiful day.)

It has been cloudy and foggy here for the past couple weeks.
When we headed up the mountain to our usual place,
we broke through the clouds and were greeted with
wonderful bright sunshine.
Up on top where we stop and begin hiking,
it was 16*.
The chill felt good along with the prospect of an 
evergreen to liven up our living room.
We found one for us and one for some friends
who have 2 little ones and weren't able to go get one.
Once we find the tree(s) and make it back to the rig,
we have "real" hot chocky waiting for us.
It's a welcome treat after trekking through the snow.
It doesn't take very long walking in the snow
to get the heart rate up.
(Especially if you have short legs like me 😊
This year someone had left about a 3' base section of their tree
which I dragged back to use as bows around the house.
It smells so good!
We now have the tree in the house and as decorated
as it's going to get.

We don't worry about perfect décor or the perfect shape.
That's not what it's all about.
We have made this journey every year for ages
and don't see an end to it any time soon.
It's these little acts or traditions if you will.
That's part of what makes us reliable.
Our children can depend upon certain things,
and that helps create stability.
For young and old alike,
we like the things we can depend on.
It doesn't have to be anything big or extravagant.
It's often the simple things that mean the most.
(So much help.)

Wishing each of you
a Merry Christmas
and a blessed New Year.

Monday, November 28, 2022

A Little Stitchin' Time

 I've been working in the fun room.
It been a game of sorting and nixing and did I mention sorting?
I began a pinwheel quilt-top last spring.
I had the pinwheels arranged on the floor.
And there they sat. . . 
all summer!
The garden happened, and that was all there was to it.
Then the garden ran late~
Finally, during the past couple weeks,
I've been able to get back to it.
I finished the quilt-top.
I have to finish the quilt I'm quilting now
which is taking forever.
Then I have another one in front of it,
then I can get to this one.
(before the borders)

As I have been stitching,
I have also been trying to go through things 
and do what I like to call "editing."
I have done plenty of good ol' organizing,
and I have a stack of things to go to donation.
In addition to that, I've been trying to think
of projects to "use up" some fabric.
One of the things I've wanted to do for a long time
is make new ironing board covers.
I have two ironing boards - both vintage/antique.
The covers on both were in dire condition.
The larger board, I use for shirts and household ironing.
The smaller board, I like by my quilting 
for pressing blocks and quilt pieces.
I figured I would make a new cover for the smaller one.
So I gathered some fabric and set out to work.
Well, I didn't feel like measuring and thought I could just wing it.
I thought wrong.
Cheater cheater Punkin eater - never pays.
In this case, it was too big so I went ahead 
and put it on the larger board.
It worked fine but then I still had the smaller board to cover.
Back at it but this time I measured like a good girl.
It looks more "wine" colored than it really is.
Both work great and it cleans up the room that much more
having a couple more pieces of fabric out of the stash
and not having ratty looking ironing boards around.
It's funny how something so simple can render a sense of accomplishment and pleasure in using it.

It's nice to move back indoors for the winter.
Our first flakes fell this morning.
Nothing sticking and I still had to go to work,
but enjoyable to see nonetheless.
By February we will be singing a different tune.
But for now~
the first snowfall is cause for celebration.
Keep well and warm dear friends. 


Thursday, November 3, 2022

It's About Today

 Have any of you noticed how the days are growing shorter?
Well, let me share.

As I type this, it is Halloween.
I suppose it is officially the Holiday Season.
While I very much enjoy the holidays,
each in their turn,
I enjoy each day for what it is.
The made up hoopla prior to each of these 
promoting early and excessive spending
isn't the part I appreciate.
I mentioned in my last post that we keep it
pretty simple as far as gifts go.
There were some wonderful comments.
(Thank you for each of those)
My thinker got stuck on that bit.
I wasn't sure why but seeing the Halloween costumes,
the Thanksgiving paper plates, and the Christmas décor
all being presented for sale at the same time
might have had something to do with it.
Please don't get me wrong.
I like seeing little ones dressed up as puppies
 or superheroes or goblins.
I love the idea of giving thanks for our blessings
as we sit down to a feast with our loved ones.
And I very much appreciate celebrating
the birth of our Savior.

Each of these is really a celebration of the heart.
We can enjoy each day just as much
as the day set on the calendar telling us to do so.
I think everyday last week was
"Look at the jewel-coloured leaves day."
Today is "Blessings falling in drops from Heaven day."
Tomorrow is looking like another of those.
We've not had real rain for quite a while so it's much needed.
It's cool and blustery
so tomorrow might be a "Yummy bowl of hot soup day" also.
I'm not saying all this simply to be a PollyAnna.
It's to be a rebel of sorts.
You already knew I was a rebel though right?
We don't need to be told when or how to celebrate.
We can do our own thing.
I had a friend in college who's family 
went skiing for Easter each year instead of looking for eggs.
They were actually very involved in their church,
so this surprised me, but it's what their family did.
It's the perfect example.
They didn't do what others did or expected.
They were/are a wonderful family and did their own thing.
We can each do that.
Go ahead and celebrate the day you are given
since we aren't guaranteed a tomorrow.
How you celebrate is entirely up to you.
Have a cup of the good coffee or tea.
Allow yourself an extra 10 minutes to read in a favorite book.
Go for a walk around the block.
Or just look out the window and appreciate the beauty.
The celebration can be internal, 
in your heart.
Perspective is a wonderful thing.
Well, being a rebel is sorta fun too.

Happy, Merry, Jolly Today
(and tomorrow too).

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

It All Went Away

 Not sure how things are going in your area,
but we have had the strangest year in the garden.
Everything is a full three weeks later than normal.
This basket is a good 20"-22" diameter.

As of writing this,
it is mid October.
Our beans and tomatoes are finally "coming on."
My eggplant has produced 2 fruit since spring.
At the moment it has 5 fruit on it.
We are expected to have mild temperatures for the next
week so I should be able to harvest them.
Typically, by the beginning of October,
I have already or am in the process of putting the garden
to bed for winter.
I currently have a couple tomato plants I will be pulling this weekend but the others are loaded both with ripe and green fruit.
We ran pretty low this year since we weren't getting much
in the way of fresh produce from our garden.
It's been a good lesson for me
to get as much as I can while I can.
The current prices at the grocery store are also 
pretty good incentive.
We also got a ton of delicious mild onions.
Well, not a full ton (heehee) but a lot!
I've been sorting them into boxes with brown paper
between layers to preserve some for fresh,
but I've had the dehydrator earning its keep, for sure.
In addition, we've been going full throttle at work
so extra time off hasn't been possible.
I could work full time at work and full time at home lately.
Thus the reason for so few posts.
Now to get to what the title is all about.
This year, Hubby put in for an elk hunting tag in Montana
with a long time friend of his who also enjoys bow hunting.
Bow season is earlier than rifle seasons so it's usually quieter.
FYI: MT hunting licenses and tags are expensive!
Well, two weeks before they were scheduled to leave,
his friend had a massive heart attack and flat-lined twice.
He has miraculously lived to tell it himself,
but needless to say, he wasn't able to go hunting.
Hubby went for two long weekends by himself
which neither of us were really wild about.
There is no phone service out there, and it's not an area
either of us is familiar with.
(His friend has hunted there for years.)
The third week of the season, 
he asked if I'd want to go if we took the trailer
and left on Tuesday and came back on Sunday.
For both of us to leave the business,
and for me to leave the garden and kitchen
right when everything was going nuts,
was a difficult decision to make.
I finally thought, you know what?
It's all going to be here when I get back.
I could work myself to the grave, or I could go
and take a break that was very much needed.
So we went~
The first day there, I took three, 3, III naps!
It was beautiful!
We camped right next to a creek off a very remote dirt road.
And for a few days,
it all went away.
No work.
No politics.
No banking or balancing books.
No urgency.
No food preservation.
No worries.
No people.
No noise.
It was so wonderful.
It was the longest vacation we've taken since we've been married, going on 12 years.
We somewhat reluctantly returned home Sunday night about 8PM, and the alarm went off at 4:30 Monday morning.
We've both been going non-stop since we returned,
but for just a couple days,
it all went away.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Look Both Ways

You might not believe this,
but yesterday I heard a little news
discussing Christmas.
Can you believe it?
I am still in the garden and the kitchen.
Everything is a full three weeks late this year
so I am finally getting tomatoes and green beans.
For some reason, it really struck me.
More of a "Wait, what's today?  When is Christmas?"
sorta striking.
It did get me to thinking though.
I realize I'm odd in my thinking,
but when I hear things like this, 
it's often later that I really offer much consideration to the topic.
So as I was pondering Christmas,
a feeling of Christmas past, if you will,
came over me.
I reflected on some merry times, both from my youth and that of my children's, then up through the years.
My heart kinda smiled.
Then I thought of Christmases even further back in time,
those I've read about but wasn't alive to encounter.

I thought of the contrast.
The joy of some Christmas candy or small token
and the exhaustion of the mountains of presents to open
and then filter through and deal with.
Of course those of you who know me
know I appreciate the simple things and history.
Then I reflected upon the report I heard
discussing the upcoming Christmas
and the forecast for the next few Christmases.
 I was a little saddened.
I fear many older children and younger adults
might not like what's ahead. 
They've been spoiled with volume.
One woman actually said if she gave her son a gift of socks,
and needful items that he would probably throw it away.
I was appalled, but my first thought was that it was the mom's fault
for setting expectations and not teaching him 
the real meaning of Christmas.

What I am about to say is not to open a political conversation,
but to encourage you and hopefully help prepare you.
We are in a recession and headed full force towards a depression.
I am saying this based on observation
instead of what any news source is/isn't broadcasting.
Businesses are closing and reducing hours.
There are pan-handlers begging right out in front of businesses
with "help wanted" signs.
The prices at the grocery store keep going up 
and the size of the packages becomes smaller. 
In order to prepare our own hearts,
I would ask what we expect - each of us,
not just for Christmas, but every day.
Have we set our selves up like that mom has her son?
Do we expect so much that we would be disappointed
if we didn't get some glorious gift or lifestyle?
What happens when we don't get what we want?

That's actually a pretty deep question, I know.
I don't expect anybody to answer out loud,
but if you think later like I do
and think your loved ones are headed towards disappointment,
there might be time.
As I type this, the calendar tells me there are 74 days until
Our family came to grips quite a few years ago.
None of us had tons of money.
Nor did we need or actually want more "stuff."
We all came to an agreement of one small gift each.
We changed our focus from "I still have to buy. . ."
to "What can I bring or do?"
We enjoy our time as a family and a "feast."
We count our blessings instead of presents.
And you know what?
It's usually a joyous day.
As you look forward,
if you do think your loved ones are revving up for a let down,
now might be a great time to "bring it on home" as I like to say.
Have the conversation.
Set the expectations appropriately.
Share love rather than things.
Perhaps some still want to go all out but as belts tighten,
knowing one has love and acceptance and
understanding someone else knows the struggle
can be a comfort and make things not only more barrable,
but even merry.
I love Christmas and the Reason we celebrate,
but for the time being
I'm still in the garden.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Teaming Up

Hi All.
This might not be a super inspirational post,
but my hope is that it might at least be helpful.
And it might help build friendships and community
which by now, you've probably figured out, I'm all for.

Hucklebunny & Ness

I think you're all smart enough to acknowledge that
some things have been a little difficult to come by lately.
Or if you can find said thing, it might be quite expensive.
Something that dawned on me today
that we've been doing is what I call "teaming up."
A couple friends and my mom and I look out for items
we are each looking for.
An example, I couldn't find the 1/2 gallon canning jars
in our town.
My mom (& dad) have to go to another town about 45 min. away
for doctors appointments so she said she would look.
She called me from the store and asked how many I wanted.
They evidently had a stack of them.
I only needed one box - heehee
She hasn't been able to find coconut oil in the larger tub.
When I was at the store yesterday, I saw some.
The price was 80% higher than last time they had it.
(Yes, 80% - almost double.  I did the math.)
I'm going to look one more place for her before purchasing any.
A friend of mine found a large borax for me
rather than those little boxes.
I have found paprika for her.
I realize it sounds a little silly to share your shopping list,
but it seems to be working well for us.
It's pretty easy also.
I usually have a shopping list so write on it
to look for paprika when at a certain place.
I know it's often easier to order online, 
but even when we place orders online,
we call each other or mention if we see each other
I'm placing an order from Xsite.  Do you need anything?
Often times, with a certain amount shipping is free
or at least less if combined.
The other thing that has come about from doing this
is that we let each other know if we find good deals on an item.
I just found a new shipment of whole pork loins for $2.49/lb.
That's a pretty good price for here and for now
so I shared that information.

We can't control everything that is going on around us,
but we can make the best of what we can do
and be kind and helpful to friends and family.
It has also been a bit of a "stress reliever."
I'm not really sure that is the correct term for what I mean,
but it's very healthy interaction and feels good to help someone
as well as having someone smiling while helping me.
The blessing is in the giving so to speak.
And we've each benefited from doing it.

*Note: When it's really hot, we bring Hucklebunny in the house to cool off a little.  She has her laundry basket and is comfy unless Ness sees her.  She will join her in the basket.  It's adorable, but I think Hucklebunny is less than impressed by it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

That Bean Wall and Other Garden Tidbits

 There were a couple questions about the bean wall.
It's not an original idea, but it's a useful one.
They are finally climbing!
I like things that have fashion and function if that makes sense.
So when the only good place for the outdoor table
was in the heat of the afternoon sun,
there had to be a solution.
Those sun kites are extremally popular,
but not really ascetically correct for our 1930 cottage,
and we are just renting so don't want to do anything permanent.

So when I saw the idea of pole beans I jumped.
My original thought was hops by the way,
but we don't use those.
Many pictures feature cattle panels which works just fine.
The grid of them is graduated so what is meant to be the bottom
of the fence has narrower spaces and as you near the top 
of the panel the spaces are larger.
To tip this on its side would make me walk with a twitch.
Maybe it's too many years using them with livestock.
I got a "High 5" panel.
The openings are 5" square - even throughout.
They come in one long length.
We have a metal fabrication shop 
so it's kinda cheating on my part.
"Oh Hubby. . . "
He cut it in half then bent the top foot for me.
We sank rebar posts and attached them to those for support.
Then the fun really began.
I got to plant the beans.
Last year, I discovered the beans would be eaten 
as soon as they popped up out of the earth.
So I now start beans inside.
Once they get their second leaves, I plant them outside.
Also last year, we had the heat dome which lasted 
a good six weeks (of 100+ degree weather.)
The poor garden suffered.
They did grow, but with temps that hot,
even in shade it was too hot to sit out.
This year has been the opposite.
We've had a long wet spring and are at war with the earwigs.
The bean wall is growing.
It's not quite there yet, but I will show you so you can see.
Any running bean would work.
I have scarlet runners over in an odd spot of the garden 
where it corners up to the field.
(I planted the 3 on the left.)
I also have contenders and Ky. pole beans.

Last year for the bean wall,
I used Old Mother Stoddard and French XXX.
This year, I had even more fun.
I have three different kinds of beans growing.

The purple ones did the poorest with germinating.
We'll see how many of each kind I actually get.
The weather has still been pleasant
which is good because the wall isn't providing much shade yet.
But it will :-)
I also got misters to hang.
That project remains on the To-Do list
rather than the To-Done list.
(Canned peas this past weekend.)

Since we are in the garden,
I will also share that our brocolli and cabbage are huge-
big beautiful plants but with no heads yet.
It's crazy but what am I to do?
I just keep watering them and praying they produce.

The compost in the raised beds was still hot so some of the things planted in those are getting some yellow leaves.
Surprisingly, the kale, collards, onions, and savory
 are doing great in them.

There's always a lesson in the garden.
Whether or not I learn it is a different story.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Quiet Corner

 ~Hello Friends~
Wanted to pop in and say Hi.
I've had another post about ready to go for some time,
but there's something holding me back.
I don't really stress over this any more.
I just roll with it.
We are all aware there is a lot going on all around us.
Wherever you are,
make it someplace you enjoy.
When we moved into the cottage,
there was much to do as there always is when one moves.
I couldn't believe how much "garbage" there was around.
I've picked up so many pieces of plastic and glass, it's crazy.
There was/is this corner behind the summer kitchen 
to the side of the back yard.
It was a complete eye-sore.
Don't believe me?
Here, I'll show you.
(I had already begun picking up rocks.)

Once we got somewhat settled into the house,
I started in on the yard.
It's forever a work in progress, 
but it's now a usable space.
The extra asphalt from the drive was dumped here 
and not leveled.
There was a pile of river rock partially scattered.
There were several railroad ties around the place.
And did you notice the weeds?
It took a ton of work, but it's paying off.
This is as it was this morning 
with projects in process and all (no staging, haha.)
It's not yet all I envision,
but it's getting closer.
My beans are beginning to run up the bean wall
which is to the right in the picture.
By the time we get the really hot weather,
they should be up and providing shade from the west.
If someone stops by, this is often where we end up.
It's been a lesson really.
There are sooo many things I have no control over.
There are so many things I can neither change or even influence.
What I can do is take care of what I do have influence over.
I can make little changes that effect us
and those close to us.
It's a little safe-haven from the rest of the world.
It doesn't mean I'm not aware of what's going on.
It means I am aware and am doing something right here
where it matters.
That's what I can do so I'm doing it.
Is it perfect?
Is it more than or better than doing nothing?
You betchya!
If the world is making you feel helpless,
make a change you can see and feel even if it's a small one.
Then do so again tomorrow.
Soon instead of a pile of asphalt, rocks, and weeds,
you'll have a little oasis to retreat to when you need a break.
You'll make a change.

Take heart and be well dear friends~

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Fixing the Commenting Issue (how to)

 It appears I'm not the only one with the issue
of not letting me comment on other blogs (or even my own!)
without being annon or typing in my name and url.
I think I got it figured out so thought I'd share.

Up here in the corner,
you should have your little picture in two spots.
Like this
The bottom one indicates I'm signed into blogger.
The smaller one above it is where it shows that I'm signed into google.
I didn't have that smaller one when I couldn't comment. 
Do you see the 3 little dots to the right of the smaller icon?
Click on those 3 dots and this drop down should appear.
When that drop-down appears, click on settings.
That will take you to the magical screen that causes the issue.
Here is where I found my issue.
My search engine, default browser and start up were all different.
I'm not sure I've cured it 100%, but at least I can be signed in now.
I had 3 different default browser addresses listed
and no search engine selected.
Then in start up,
I made sure it had the google address.
Now when I start my computer, it asks who is using it
and I can click on my image and name and it signs me in.

If I did anything else, it was on accident, and I don't know what it was.
Hope this helps~


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

But It's a Good Tired

 You can find me in the garden ~

Well, this is a garden too, heehee.
Where to start?
I guess by sitting down for a moment.
I've been on the go.
Between work and regular home activities like
cooking and cleaning, etc. in addition to
getting the garden in and trying to clean up after winter,
it's been fun.
The summer kitchen is a hot mess.
I've somehow amassed a collection of items that require repair.
How does that happen?
I have just about everything planted.
I think there is one cuke waiting for me.
We've been eating radishes, and the lettuce is looking promising.
We have new planter boxes this year.
They are now all planted, but you wouldn't believe 
what it takes to fill each of those things.
Photo bomb curtesy of Ness as well 
as wood chips from filling the bottom half of each one.
I have a huge pile of pots to scrub but that's another story.
This past weekend,
we hiked 9 miles and equivalent of 74 flights of stairs.
We went back to our old hunting ground
which is where the first photo was taken.
We were looking for morels.
We didn't find any, but found 7-8 lbs. of calf-brain mushrooms
which are Hubby's favorite so he's happy.
We've been fortunate so far this year.
It's been a mild spring, and we've enjoyed occasional rains.
Last year, it seemed like the sun came out from its winter's nap and turned to triple digits immediately.
So, we are thankful everyday of this real spring.
This isn't a long post, but I wanted to let you all know
what was going on around here.
I need to snap some real pictures with or without 
feline assistance and share what's growing.

I am having troubles leaving comments on blogs.
It says I need to sign into Google
which I am already signed into.
If I click on the button to sign in, 
it takes me back to the home page of my blog.
For some there is a drop down, and I can type my name and url.
Others won't let me at all.
I might try unfollowing and re-following 
to see if that does anything.
It really is discouraging.
If any of you know of a fix, please share in the comments.
It seems like there is something in privacy settings
that needs to be switched on,
but I can't remember what.