Saturday, January 2, 2016

Starting the New Year

Although Christmas was great, I really lost steam the week after and by the time New Year's Eve and New Year's Day came, as far as I was concerned, the holiday mood had done left the building.

Today we're kinda sorta getting back into our regular routine. 

I hauled up all the boxes that hold the Christmas decorations in preparations for my big project tomorrow which will be denuding the house of all its colorful and festive finery.  Then I'll clean the ashes out of the wood stove in both the kitchen and living room, do a quick job of housecleaning and put up the January/winter decorations.

This morning I finished simmering a big pot of bean soup I had started yesterday.  We certainly didn't lack for good food over the holidays and some ham was left over that I wanted to use.  Bean Soup with Ham . . . one of my favorites.  We each had a bowl for lunch today before I packaged it for the freezer.  Dessert was a slice of rhubarb pie.  Not exactly a kind of pie one might expect to have in January, but this past summer I made up and froze five or six containers of rhubarb pie mix, one of which I made into a pie last night.  You know what?  It tastes like summer time!  Admittedly, a little strange this time of year, but so good!  If you like rhubarb.  And I really do.

I keep getting dunning notices (from a company which shall remain nameless) for a book which I neither ordered nor kept.  I have proof of returning the book to the company which I've made copies of and sent back with previous invoices I've received.   The same invoices I refuse to pay.  So what's the problem here?  Is the billing office not in communication with the return office?  Did they not receive the returned book?  If so, shouldn't that be communicated to me?  Maybe it's a case of no flesh and blood person being employed by this company and the computers (or robots) are incapable of handling the situation.  In any case, it makes me hesitant to do any future business  with this particular company.

Papa Pea and I just had a good laugh.  (Touching on the hysterical though it might have been.)  He planned to spend the whole day working at his desk getting it cleared off and his paperwork brought up to date.  I planned to spend the whole day in my quilt room.  At three o'clock we met in our entry room to get dressed to go out for late afternoon chorres.  Neither of us had spent more than a couple of hours (probably less than that) doing what we planned for the day.  And nothing kept us from it other than the simple, everyday tasks and chores and happenings that make up a regular day.  Sometime instead of making a list for the day and crossing off items when they are completed, I'm going to write down all the mundane things I do every day that seem to eat up the hours as if they were mere minutes.  Hmmm, that might be an eye-opener.  In one way or the other.

Lots of flu going around our community.  Our daughter has it now after caring for the 2 year old twins who both had it last week.  I'm happy to say Papa Pea and I both are staying fit as fiddles.  I guess we're tougher (and maybe ornerier) than the ol' flu bugs. 

26 comments:

Sue said...

I love these types of posts ----sort of a "smidge of this, a smattering of that". Nice.
Shows you two have a lot going on.
I got rid of the decorations a couple days ago. Never did get in to the holiday mood--hard to do this year with the very late snow.
I did, however, get in to my usual sorty sorty mood that I always get this time of year. What is it about a New Year that makes me want to start out with a clean slate (ie-drawers, cupboards, closets)?

Bean and ham soup is also top of our list! Wonderful stuff.
The rhubarb, well, you can keep that.....
:D

Pam said...

I love rhubarb pie, yum! Will keep our tree up for a bit, I know sounds silly, but it makes everything more cheery with the drab winter weather....LOL! You keep staying healthy! :)

Sparkless said...

Our decorations are coming down tomorrow. Now I'm in the mood for soup and pie, Yum!
Older people who are healthy should have better immunity than young kids because to build immunity you have to be exposed to viruses first. The more viruses you've been exposed to the more immunity your body builds to those, if you are healthy. It's been a slow year for bugs but they say they will start going around now because winter didn't really hit until late December here. Right now I have a bit of a throat and cough thing going on but I'm not sure if it's a cold or irritation from our furnace being on all the time.
You should do a list of what you get done in a normal day. I know it will put me to shame but also inspire me to get going.

Lisa said...

I agree about mundane things taking up your day MamaPea. Somedays I feel so tired at bedtime but feel I have done nothing except small mundane things all day long. Oh well they need done I suppose.

Ruth Dixon said...

I usually take everything down the day after Christmas, it feels fresh and good to have it all picked up. I drug it out a bit this year due to the youngest (college sophomore) who requested I wait. I am cutting back on the decorations and that almost makes it more like the holidays. I love ham and bean soup, usually fry up a steak for the meat-lover hubby on the side.

Susan said...

Soup is such a comfortable, delicious food group. You and Papa Pea too busy to do fun things? I'm so shocked! Not. I think it's hard for homesteaders to wrest out time for doing things that aren't part of the homestead machinery. Don't give up - you can do it! When you do, please tell me how.. :)

Kristina said...

It must be that kefir and other good good you both eat. Flu is going around here, but we are avoiding it. The girls take an anti-ill spray with them when going to sleepovers now. They realize this time of year they come home sick with all those germs. I like rhubarb, but if I could just get the right place here for it to grow three years first.

Tami said...

Don't tempt fate, MP. We've got a few more months to go before we can say ByeBye flu season. SM and I both snagged it last year in March. And we hadn't had the flu in years.

Stay warm and enjoy the bean soup. My ham bone is in the freezer waiting for a cold weekend and an empty fridge. (Too many holiday munchies still around)

Content in a Cottage said...

YUM...Bean soup with ham is one of my favorites too. I chopped an onion yesterday and ended up with vegetarian chili which tasted very good and there are leftovers too. Everyday chores do take away time for planned projects, but what can you do? You have way more than most people with all your wood chopping, etc. Happy New Year!
xo, Rosemary

Content in a Cottage said...

YUM...Bean soup with ham is one of my favorites too. I chopped an onion yesterday and ended up with vegetarian chili which tasted very good and there are leftovers too. Everyday chores do take away time for planned projects, but what can you do? You have way more than most people with all your wood chopping, etc. Happy New Year!
xo, Rosemary

Mama Pea said...

Sue - Thanks for the encouragement as I always worry that "these type of posts" are full of nothing and of interest to no one. On the other hand, they remind me of the letters I used to write (pre-computer age) and recipients seemed to like those.

Sorry we finished all the rhubarb pie today . . . I was meaning to send you some of it. Hee-hee-hee.

Mama Pea said...

Pam - The holiday decorations do indeed make everything seem a bit cheerier in this drab winter weather! I've always thought Swedish folks had the right idea in decorating their houses (year 'round) in bright, bold colors. Easier to make it through the long winters!

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - We're doing all we can to avoid any bad germs or bugs! I should be knocking on wood, but neither one of us get sick but very infrequently. Can't remember the last time hubby even had a cold. I think I had one last year but prior to that nothing for a few years.

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - IF we weren't around (like on a vacation in Hawaii or something like that -- ha!) I think it would quickly become evident just how much or how many of those small mundane things we do get done each day and how important they are. (Maybe that's why housewives go on strike???):o}

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - I'm lucky to have a husband who LOVES soup which makes it easy for me. Once a big supply of soup is put by, of course!

I don't think I could pull the holiday decorations before New Year's. Seems like that's still part of "the holidays", right? (Although I sure didn't feel it this year, decorations or not. Once Christmas was over, I lost my holiday ho-ho.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - It's all okay because we're both homebodies and enjoy our little place and being at home. I'd enjoy it even more if I spent more time relaxing here though! Not all the time, but more frequently, please.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - You do such a good job of making your own anti-germ and virus potions.

My rhubarb plant is in the middle of a raised bed in the middle of the garden area so it does get a lot of sunlight. But I know many people who grow it in a row along side a garage or house because it gets some protection from the structure, too. It likes a lot of fertilizer, also, and I stop picking mine right around July 4th so some summer strength goes to the roots.

Mama Pea said...

Tami - I know what you mean about too many holiday munchies still around. Don't want to have anything go to waste but I think that last tin of cookies that nobody is touching may go into the compost pile. We be over-sugared!

We're gonna try our darndest to avoid the flu, that's for sure. We know of several folks (kids and adults) who were out of commission because of it over the holidays. No fun.

Mama Pea said...

Rosemary - I make a vegetarian chili now and then, too. It has corn in it which I think adds a lot.

Best wishes for a wonderful year of 2016 to you, too, Rosemary!

Ruth Dixon said...

I always feel energized by the New Year so moving the Christmas stuff out of the way allows me to have a "clean slate".

Mark said...

We took our Christmas decorations down and put the winter ones up on Saturday. We love both but getting from one to the other is always a chore. De usually does the bulk of it, but the way the days worked out this year I was home and we got it all done early enough to treat ourselves to a "date night" out.

I know just what you mean about everyday chores consuming your day. It happens around here, and it follows me to the day job.

DFW said...

Ahsamed to say that I have never even had a bit of Rhubard pie but I have had a hankering for Bean & Ham soup. Would you please share your recipe? I got plenty pinned but sometimes it takes a recipe from someone who 'knows'. As I was putting up my meager Christmas decorations I had visions of sugar plums for next year dancing in my head because I actually got all the new Christmas stuff I bought last year in one box to hopefully use next year.

Mama Pea said...

Mark - Dunno why, but it seems it took me longer this year (Am I slowing down? Nah, couldn't be that.) to take the holiday decorations down and longer to get the winter ones up!

P.S. A date night out? What's that? ;o)

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Oh, drat, I'm going to do to you what I dislike others doing to me when I ask for a (real) recipe. I don't have one. :o(

Hope this makes sense: I use navy beans, always at least 4 cups of them, more if I have more ham. Melt 1/4 cup butter in large soup pot, saute about two medium sized onions, chopped, and 4 cloves of garlic, garlic minced. Add beans and 2 bay leaves and stir well to coat. Then add hot water to cover about an inch or so over beans. Bring to boil and then simmer. Forever. (This is a two day process for me as we like the beans soft, but not mushy.)

Initially the beans will drink up a lot of water, so watch carefully and just add more as needed. Test your beans occasionally for done-ness. Add only as much water to get the consistency you want.

I haven't said anything about adding the ham yet. The best soup will be from using a leftover ham bone with some meat on it. I put the bone right in with the onions and garlic. When the soup is done, remove the bone and cut off chunks of ham (if they haven't fallen off already), return ham to soup and discard bone.

This last batch I made I didn't have a ham bone but just some ham slices which I cut up and put in the pot with the onions and garlic.

Don't add any salt when cooking the beans as that will make them tough. When the soup has cooked for several hours and the beans are done to taste, add salt and pepper as needed. (Will depend on how salty your ham is, of course.)

Hope this is enough for you to give it a try. It makes an economical, very good, stick-to-your-ribs meal. Actually, several meals!

If you want to try rhubarb, I'll send you a slice next time I make a pie. Hee-hee!

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - I totally understand your feelings there. I got the winter decorations up yesterday and must admit that I can see that the holidays (and end of the year?) are definitely over now, my plans for the new year are coming into focus better.

DFW said...

Thanks Mama Pea. Yes, it does make sense. And, I'll take you up on that rhubard pie slice ;)