Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Musings 36-42



1 - How many useful one gallon jars of various materials does one homesteader need?  Probably not six.  I refuse to throw this out, so am working on finding it a new home.

2 - In my own defense, at the time it sounded like an awesome idea.  I had visions of dispatching hordes of stinging insects and pesky flies with a flick of the wrist.  I mean, who doesn't want to experience the thrill of frying mosquitoes?  No?

3 - With a heavy heart and great trepidation, I have waded into the knitting/craft area in order to meet my quota.  It seemed only fair.  Plus it is the area of highest concentration of 'stuff'.  Still... I did find that I have more than one knit-from-the-heart-type books.

4 - Loved the look of this vintage knitting book, even if the tot on the front both makes me cringe and feel cold at the same time.  And we complain about mini-skirts? 

5 - I have knitted not one sock from the book, on the road or not.

6 - After careful deliberation, I have decided that I will NOT learn how to make soap.  A person has to draw the line somewhere.

7 - This big stack of magazines went to a new home, along with two other larger stacks that I did not list.  I wavered for years - paging through every now and then, an article catching my eye.  So I saved every one.  This weekend, I pulled on my BGPs and piled them all in a box and put them on Freecycle.  They were gone in a day.  Poof! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hugger or Non-Hugger?

My parents were not physically demonstrative when I was a kid.  Nor when I was a teenager - which, quite frankly, I totally get, as I was not lovable as a teenager.  I was a total pain in the beehind.  This makes me wonder why I am such a complete and utter hugger.  Maybe it was because of the Rosarios, a classmate's Italian family that forced you to be buffeted through a chorus line of hugs and kisses both coming in and going out of their front door (and again, at random, while in their house).  As a child, it was both terrifying and thrilling.  There was a whole lotta demonstrative-ness in that house.

I have developed into a serial hugger.  It makes no difference whether you are the huggable type or not.  Of course, should someone screech and jump back as I approach, I will pick up on that and desist.  Reluctantly.  A relatively new friend is rather stiff and formal and, initially, took my hugs as an assault.  I am chipping away the aloof exterior, one hug at a time.  I noticed this weekend that she was not as ramrod stiff as she usually is, sagging slightly in my grasp.  It could, I suppose, been out of sheer terror.  :)

I remember my BIL giving my dad a huge hug.  Lawsy, I wish I had had a camera at that moment.  My father, stiff as a board, in the embrace of his SIL, rapidly patting him on the shoulder while his eyes darted from side to side, seeking an avenue of escape.

Before you think I am some sappy nutjob who flings herself on everyone she meets, hugging her way through the crowd, this is not the case.  There are definitely some people upon whom I would not bestow a hug.  Politicians, for instance.  Most of the people on my street.  No one in my office.  No one in my office building.  Law enforcement officers.  People who mistreat animals, children and senior citizens.

Everyone else?  Brace yourself.

What say you?  Hugger or Non?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Musings 29-35

Am I the only one who collects hats that she doesn't ever wear?  I love hats - to look at.  I never change hats, tending to cling to an old favorite until it is so completely disreputable that it falls off my head.  Or my sister gets hold of it and throws it away....  Anyhoo, in order:

1-2 - I loved the tiny bunny pin on sight.  It is about the size of a nickel, made from wood and elicits a 'squee' response whenever worn.  Which was once.  I am passing the squee along.  Ergo with the moose key ring.  Loved it.  Never used it.  That darn magpie thing again.

3 - I love the classic style of this hat.  However, as noted above, I own a completely disreputable straw cowgirl hat that I will never part with and would feel like a real heel, should I trade it in for something more fetching.  I figure I can squeeze about another five years out of the thing before it disintegrates.

4 - One of those charity swag things.  You know, give x-amount of dollars to us and we give you a hat.  This was supposed to be a one-size-fits-all chapeau which did not.  Apparently, Melon Heads have a classification of their own.  (I blame it on all the brains inside.  Snort.)

5 - A pink John Deere hat?  Me?  Whatever was I thinking!?!

6 - I have no idea where this little holiday loaf pan came from.  But it is going somewhere else, finally.  (Notice Scrappy's tail sailing by...)

7 - Another bright, shiny object that was out of sight/out of mind.  Now out of here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On the ball or under it?


Since there seems to be a rather large lull in winter right now (JINXED), I quit procrastinating and dragged out my garden planning accessories this past weekend.  Those being:  binder, graph paper, mechanical pencil, seed catalogs, seed packets, notebook.  I cleared off the dining room table (except for my centerpiece - above - which I use for inspiration), made a pot of tea and took my seat.  Then I got up, gave the dogs crunchy treats, meandered about for a half hour, and forced myself back into my chair.  Hello Brain!?!  Hello!?! 

Every year, I promise myself that I will not buy one more seed packet, as I have TONS of seeds that still have life in them.  And it's not like I am planting for a family of six.  Nevertheless, I take my garden very seriously, as it provides all of my fresh produce and most of my preserved (canned/dried/ frozen) for the year.  Last year, for some reason, I never sat down with paper and pencil and plotted the garden.  It was a big mistake.  Everything went in rather willy-nilly and it showed.  Sweet peas planted on the bean trellis were engulfed and stunted.  Cukes were put in a hard to reach place and were the cause of much...colorful language.  Beans were disorderly.  Peppers were puny.  Tomatoes fell down.  Basil was squeezed out.  It was a mess.  Because there was no order, it was difficult to keep track of what did well and why.

New last year were tomatillos.  They grew like crazy and produced tons of fruit.  I think I got a half bushel from two plants.  However, other than the rather exotic thought of tomatillos, I did not care for them as much as I thought I would, so they are off the list for this year.  New this year are leeks.  In my quest for a passable carrot crop (2016 or Bust!),  I have decided to dedicate one bed to carrots and leeks (because they are best friends).  I am going to dig in a pile o' sand into that bed, add a pile o' llama beans and hope for the best.  This will include actually thinning the seedlings - rather than thinking about it.  I am weak.

Last year's potato crop was very uneven.  The fingerlings were disappointing, while the Red Norlands were the size of large Russets, but there were few.  I've ordered potatoes from a new source this year - The Maine Potato Lady - in the hopes that I will find a good, organic seed potato that will produce.  I grow my taters in tater bags and in tires, which seems to work well.  Usually. 

The chipmunks (buggers) made harvesting my strawberry crop almost impossible.  In order to be able to out maneuver them in order to get to the ripe berries before they did, I had to resort to putting bird netting over the entire bed.  This made picking them a real pain.  I ended up ripping holes in the top so that I could reach most of them without having to remove the covering each time and replacing it and pinning it down.  Needless to say, the weeds thought this was marvelous and overtook the entire bed.  I had to rip out the plants (most of which were on the old side, truth be told) and will replant this spring.  The Chipmunkinator is coming out early.

Beans.  Well, those purple pod pole beans were superhuman - or superbeanan!  I have so many seeds from these beans that I will gladly send seeds to whomever wants a hugely healthy, thriving pole bean.  Just send me an email with your mailing address.   Seriously.  I have two quart jars full of seeds.  I am going to plant whatever is in my seed stock this year - some are a little dated, but since I only need a few plants of each, I am sure there is enough viable seed stock to set me up. 

My goal at the end of this new gardening season (may it be the best yet for everyone!) is to end up with enough of my own seeds that I do not have to buy anything but seed potatoes and onions next year.  This may mean that no seed catalogues can enter the house.  I am, as I said, weak.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday musings 22-28

This week, it's all about stacks.



1 - A stack of my mom's old chair cushions.  They are still serviceable, but I can't give them to Goodwill (risk of infestation....) and I already have twenty assorted cat beds.  They are too large for my dining room chairs, so out they go.  They are my landfill nightmare, which is why I have been hanging onto them for years.  I hope I don't get nightmares.
2 - This is a very nice, small teapot but I already have a nice, small teapot.  And a nice medium teapot.  And a nice large get the idea.  But I have clung to it for years because it is cute.  And green.  Very little logic is involved. 
3 - I am letting go of some of my cookbooks - a painful process, but it has to be done.  In this stack are:  Cooking Free, Literary Feast, Porridge Sisters Vegan Cookbook, and A Return to Cooking.  An eclectic mix, to say the least.
4 - I am tired of saying I am going to learn to paint watercolors.  I am not.  I am too heavy-handed for watercolors, according to all of my art instructors in my previous life.  I was also deemed to heavy-handed to use a lightweight women's bowling ball and was always given a heavy one, which I flung down the lane with not a thought to precision.  I was also warned of being too heavy-handed with a pool cue, although I did support myself for a bit in college, heavy-handed or not.
5 - Where the heck did these come from?
6 - Another painfully slow process will be culling knitting patterns and the yarn stash (ouch).  But, really.  A stack (albeit a small stack) of patterns - mittens, dishtowel and dishcloths.  MANY more to go.
7 - A very nice LLBean barn coat in navy corduroy.  It went out the door on my sister this weekend which is why you are seeing the artist's rendering....

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

...and I'll supply the entertainment.

After completely disregarding my vow to simplify my life, I scheduled both my annual physical and blood donation on the same day.  I was up at the crap of dawn (as Kay would have said) - my usual time of rising - tried to focus on things other than I could not have even one cup of coffee, spent some time on my latest knitting project (to be revealed), and fed the dogs early.  As soon as it was lightish, I battled my way to the sheep feeder with their winter grain ration (it's like wading through bumper cars), then threw some hay in their feeder.  I did chicken chores, took a 5 minute shower and left the house at 7:30 for my 8:15 appointment.  Luckily, the only traffic on the road at that hour were feed trucks, milk trucks and me.  It helped that it was a holiday - no school buses!

I like everything about my doctor's office except for the fact that they are as cheap as I am with the heat.  Geez.  My doctor and her staff are the polar opposites of the doctor I had been going to for years.  Laid back, open to suggestion, willing to take as much time as needed to talk to you, let you babble on, do not force medication on you.  The only drawback is that the laid back attitude sometimes leaches into the checkout system.  I was standing, slumped against the wall (fasting will do that to you), waiting for a very elderly woman to finish checking out.  Who couldn't hear well and was, apparently, accompanied by her loud, bossy daughter.  Who, apparently, felt that NONE of us could hear well.  I was finally saved by one of the check IN ladies and was given my paperwork for the lab.  After my brief and mostly pain-free visit to Mrs. Dracula, I was off for the day.  Except for the six errands between the doctor's office and home.

I pulled up the driveway with just enough time to let the dogs out and have a quick bite (and a cup o' joe or three) before doing some quick house cleaning and heading out to the local firehouse for my appointment for the blood drive.  I have to say that the folks who work these blood drives are very nice.  They are efficient, friendly and professional.  As I jabbered along with Stephanie, my check-in (adorable) young woman, I learned that she had a grandmother who had raised sheep, sheared them and had won numerous awards for her knitted blankets.  As I lay supine on the cot, squeezing my squeeze ball, I contemplated the level of filth on the ceiling fan blades.  I listened to bad music and the babbling of voices around me.  It was rather nice to have down time and do something good at the same time.

Steven (a gentle, bearded giant), unhooked me and made sure I was good to toddle over to the snacks and drink table, which was manned by a pair of slightly disinterested high school seniors - this drive being part of the community service duty.  I sat on my folding chair, chatting with the town supervisor (who I caught breaking his no-carb diet with a few - dozen - packets of cheese crackers).  Then I felt slightly lightheaded.  I figured it would pass and it did, sort of.  As in pass out.  Next thing I knew, I was lying on the floor with my feet elevated, gazing into the worried face of the giant.  Well, that was different.  After a few minutes, we tried it again, and I was now sitting at the table with a pair of less disinterested high school seniors.  In fact, they looked downright alarmed.  A few minutes later?  Rinse, wash, repeat.  This time, Steven slowly and gently, but firmly guided me back to a cot, where I got to contemplate the mummified flies clinging to the fringe on the flag of NYS.  He would not take my word that I was okay - not that I blame him.  Another fifteen minutes pass and I am starting to flop like a beached fish because I want down.  He practically carried me back to the snacks table where I promised to down two bottles of water and a container of juice.  By then, I was down to one alarmed high school senior who turned out to be delightful.  We had a grand time discussing colleges, traveling, school sports, and girls.

When I was finally allowed to leave on my own power, I turned to the young fellow and asked if he was doing this for community service credit.  He said that, yes, he was and it had been really, really boring until I turned up.