Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Are You a Heavy Furniture Mover?

I recently read an article detailing one way one woman got into the feeling of the new spring season.  She did a thorough, deep cleaning of her living room and completely moved the furniture into a new arrangement.
I used to do that.  I say "used to" because that's been an impossibility in the twenty-some years we've lived in our present house.
You see, although our living room measures 16' x 16' square (not a tiny room), it has a staircase, five doors and a wood stove in it.  Plus, two main walkways that must be kept open.  I know; a furniture arrangers nightmare.  There's one and only one way to arrange our living room furniture that works.
I still think of when, in my previous life, each time I felt the need to move the big pieces of furniture to vacuum or clean underneath them, I would put the room back together with a different arrangement.  It always seemed as though the room had had a makeover and was somehow new and revitalized.
Do any of you periodically change the looks of the interior of your homes by rearranging furniture? 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Clomping with Muddy Boots into Spring

Spring is always an eagerly anticipated season (gardening, of course!) and yet its arrival means I have very little time for my much enjoyed handwork.  Sadness and woe.  (Ya can't do everything at once, Mama Pea.)  Plus, spring time in our area means MUD.

On the up side, this is the first spring when it seems we just might get a jump start on our always too short growing season.  The piddling little amount of winter snow is long gone now (although we never had our March or April - well, not yet anyway - blizzard) and we've gone to bed at night with an outside temp of 50° more than once.  Unheard of for this time of year in these here parts.
The grass is turning green on our lawn areas as are the robust little weeds popping up everywhere in the garden areas.  Happily, we've been getting whole days of rain (or just gray, damp, misty weather some of the time) which is not only squelching the fire danger of the surrounding forests and still standing dry weeds of last season, but doing a good job of driving the frost out of the ground.  We've seen our chickens scratching in the wet soil to find good-sized earth worms that they happily gobble up.
I've been able to zip out between showers in the last several days to remove the winter mulch from the strawberries and clean up the dead ferns covering the asparagus patch.

Lookit all those green weeds taking hold in the asparagus rows.  Ugh.
Next in the garden will be to spend a day or so digging out the spring weeds in both the strawberry and asparagus patches as soon as the ground dries out enough for me to avoid becoming totally covered in mud.  This won't be until perhaps mid-week or later as rain is forecast until then.  (I can hear those healthy, new weeds laughing at me as we speak.)

Our old rhubarb plant needed to be moved to a new spot which was done with Papa Pea's help manning the shovel.  My, but those roots went deep.  We chopped off the newer outer parts and transplanted one clump into the center of a raised bed where it seems to be taking hold and thriving.

Small buds are appearing on the apple trees.  (Use your imagination.)

The chives which are always the first perennials to burst forth are looking good, no doubt loving this wet weather.
I'm no expert, but from what I'm hearing the recent maple sap gathering season in our area was not great this year.  Our unusually warm weather didn't provide the freezing nights the maple trees need for maximum flow of sap.  However, a friend of ours gathered more sap than she wanted to boil down for herself so gave us a gallon and a half of the sap as a health drink.  This "sap" is not thick at all but has the consistency of water and is often called "maple water."  It has a very slight sweet flavor and contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants when consumed.  We shared it with our daughter who, in turn, shared it (along with a science lesson) with some of her little people.
These wet, gray days have been perfect for being in the kitchen and in the past two days I've made three different batches of soup for the freezer thinking ahead to the coming days when most of my time will be spent outside.  On the schedule today are two more soups to be prepared.  During the summer months, yummy soup equals a fast and easy meal and when the garden goes into production and gives us fresh vegetables for crunchy salads . . . well, I can hardly wait.  Best I get some bread made, too, to have in the freezer as an addition to some of those busy day meals.
It's raining enough this morning that I had to wear full rain gear to go out to get the included pictures.  A perfect day for simmering a couple pots of soup.  And maybe even making myself cozy in my quilt room and making progress on my current cross-stitch project.

Friday, April 2, 2021

A Memory from Long, Long Ago

This morning I read the recent blog post of tpals, a blogger I enjoy reading.  Within the post were included a few pictures, one showing her wood stove and some surrounding buckets of water.

Memories of buckets of water next to our wood stove when we first moved up here to northern Minnesota sprang to mind.
For several years, we lived in an old tin can of a mobile home that had minimal to non-existent insulation, and we came close (I'm sure) to freezing in the winter time.
At the time we had more animals than we had sense.  Three horses, a donkey, two dairy goats, a buck, a flock of chickens, one huge Bouvier dog and one very old Cocker Spaniel comprised our menagerie.
We had no running water or electricity.
Our water came from a hand dug well that dated from the time the land was first settled in the early 1900s.  And, boy howdy, was that water cold.  We boiled it before using it for our household water and in the winter time brought buckets of water inside to be placed by the wood stove in the hopes of warming it a bit before giving it to the animals.
One day I had the usual umpteen buckets on the floor next to the stove and had put two loaves of bread to rise balanced rather precariously on a stool also next to the stove.
Something shifted and one of the pans of bread did a header smack into one of the buckets of livestock water.
Without a moment's hesitation, I snatched that pan of bread with the loaf still in it out of the pail of water, tipped it so the water ran out while holding the loaf of dough securely in the pan so it stayed put.
You can bet that after I had rescued and resuscitated that drowning loaf, I gave serious thought as to whether it would still be fit to eat.  But, I reasoned, I had just that morning scrubbed out all the animals' water buckets and the water in them looked sparkling clean.  Frigidly cold, but clean. 
So I set the pan of bread back in its place (a bit more securely) where it could finish rising.
Funny how I can still remember, all these forty-some years later, exactly what recipe of bread that was (Corn Meal Muffin Bread) and how wonderfully it rose and baked up.
Now, after I've told this tale, I have no doubt that should any of you have the chance to be offered a slice of my homemade bread, you would kindly demur.  
I understand.  

Saturday, March 27, 2021

March, March, Go Away

The month of March continues to show its fickle colors.  Warm days of melting snow followed by temperatures in the 20s giving us nasty winds full of spitting snow.  One day the ground looks like it's drying nicely, the next there's a new batch of mud threatening to suck off my boots.  A good blogging friend of mine has labeled this month "Farch" and I don't know if that name is made up of a combination of February and March . . . or something else.
* * * * * *
Neither my dear husband nor I are sleeping well lately and we're stumped as to the cause.  Sure, there is the continued unsettled whole COVID situation which has caused so many upsetting (and sadly, even tragic) circumstances for all of us due to a myriad of factors, but we personally are blessed to have not been affected to the degree of so many others.
I'm feeling that as the old song says, "Times they are a'changing," and change is, more often than not, unwelcomed.
* * * * * *
It's my observation that most of the blogging world is currently suffering from lack of the usual enthusiasm and vitality.  Sad to say, you can count me in as one of this group.  I'm not happy about that, but it is what it is.
* * * * * *
In the meantime, please share how you're coping with the general malaise I hear so many folks currently feeling and voicing.  Your thoughts may shed a new light into someone's life or offer a coping mechanism that has worked for you.  We've gotta band together and support each other. 
* * * * * *
Enough of this down and droopy drivel.  I'm off to make my morning latte, attempt to shove my Eeyore outlook deep down into cold storage and have a good day filled with enthusiasm, personal satisfaction and enjoyment.  I may even come up with an interesting blog post.  Hopefully soon. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Off Kilter

Not only has the time change of a week ago thrown my body time clock for a loop, but I'm having trouble adjusting to the early snow melt we're experiencing this year.

This picture was taken of Papa Pea plowing snow on April 19th a few years ago when we had a normal winter.

And another one of the same morning showing the 2' high snow drift on our deck. 

This is the scene of our raised beds and part of the field garden today.  No wonder I can't adjust to the time of year or time of day change!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Winner of the Easter Drawing

 As you can see by the number on the slip of paper this little white rabbit is holding, the winner of the recent giveaway is:

# 10, the tenth and last person to leave a comment asking to be entered in the drawing.
That's you, LISA B., and I'm happy to send the two quilted pieces on to you.
I have your address so will get them in the mail to you today.
Thanks to the others of you who expressed an interest in this giveaway.  Happy (early) Easter greetings to you all!