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.

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.