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.