Sunday, January 10, 2021

Planning for the 2021 Garden - Too Early?

Remember when seed catalogs didn't start showing up in the mail until March or April each year?  No, you probably don't because that hasn't happened in a long time.

All of these arrived before the first of the year.  And there were more that I've already taken to recycling.  Still more, I'm sure, will arrive shortly.

However, having the catalogs and the availability of perusing gardening seed websites online is a good thing.  
(Did you know some seed companies have already closed their websites to more orders because of extreme overload?) 
This has all urged me to take out my gardening book and plot out what I'll plant where for this coming gardening season.  I have a feeling being as prepared for the spring seed starting months as I can will be of future benefit to those eager eaters who partake of meals at our table.

At the end of the harvest season last year, I went through all my seeds and placed a couple of small orders to resupply any seeds that looked even a little low.

Being aware of current information available on social media (real and/or fake), I've decided it might be a good idea to recheck myself and possibly order more.  Can't hurt and might even help out someone else.

What are your plans for gardening this year?  Do you garden yourself?  Or perhaps subscribe to a CSA near you?  Do you use space in a community garden plot?  Are you a long-time gardener?  If so, have you expanded your growing space in the last year or so?  Do you plan to have a garden for the first time this year?  What do you feel is most important to grow?

P.S.  There will be NO zucchini plants in my garden this year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Month of January - Like It or Lump It?

I luv the month of January.  Many people complain it's such a loooong, dreary month to get through after the celebrations and festivities of the just past holidays.

Say what?  January is a long month?  It could contain sixty-two days rather than thirty-one and I would jump for joy.
Each year after our extremely busy summer season, I'm always glad to see harvest time and autumn arrive mostly because it signals that the winter months are getting closer.  Winter is the time I can look forward to more down time for personal pursuits than at any other time of the year.
But.  Before my month of January arrives, we have to get through (dum-dah-dum-dum!) The Holidays.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the day or two celebrating the New Year.  Not to say there aren't a lot of warm, wonderful feelings surrounding those holidays that begin at the end of November and go all the way to the start of January, but let's face it.  Doesn't most of the planning, preparation and w.o.r.k. associated with the holiday season fall to the female(s) of the household?  Yep, it sure does.  And it all makes me tired.
What I'm trying to say is that my winter of content doesn't start until the holidays are over and we turn our calendars to the first month of the new year.
Rosemary Beck (Content in a Cottage) wrote of her feelings regarding January:
"January is my absolute favorite month of the whole year.  The holidays are behind me and there is nothing pressing before me.  Perfect for nesting and doing self-indulgent things like watching movies, reading books, knitting, sprucing up my blog, or anything fun."
Amen, Rosemary!
So not it's your turn.  Do you treasure this month of January for reasons of your own or would you rather just give it a boot in the butt, skip it and be that much closer to spring?  My inquiring mind wants to know.   

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Good Old Days?

There's a delightful blog I follow written by two ladies in Iowa (The Iowa Housewife) and this morning the post was a picture of a line of clothes hung outside in a cold, blustery, snow-filled back yard.
Oh, the memories.  Back in the days before I had a clothes dryer in the house, I did hang my clothes outside year 'round.  The biggest hurdle in the winter I found to be finding gloves (mittens were much too clumsily frustrating) to wear so that my hands didn't suffer frostbite.  (A goal never quite reached.)
The first several years we were married, I took our laundry to the local laundromat.  (Ugh, I hated that.)  Then around 1970, we moved and rented what was the ground floor of an old farmhouse that had been remodeled into a lower and upper apartment.  (When I say this farmhouse was old, I mean it.  The original part of the structure had been built as a stagecoach stop.)
Mrs. Rector, our lovely 80-some year old landlady, lived in the apartment upstairs and kindly told me I could use the clothes lines in the back yard to hang our washed clothes.  (I did have a washer then, but no dryer.)
This was back in Illinois and many days in the winter, the temperature stayed below freezing.  If there was sun and a breeze, the clothes dried better than you might think.  But many times, at the end of two (or three) days, everything would still be frozen and I would give up and bring the laundry inside to drape over every surface possible to thaw and finish drying. 
Dear Mrs. Rector, being of the old school when many babies didn't survive infancy, repeatedly warned me that bringing in all that cold, frozen laundry would lower the temperature of our living space and I needed to be very careful that my then infant daughter didn't "catch cold."
I do remember awkwardly bringing in sheets that were frozen stiff and felt like the sails of an ocean-going vessel.
In the area at that time there were many farm auctions and we frequently attended them.  At one we purchased (for $7.00) a large, wooden, folding clothes rack which I used in the winter to hang as much of the laundry inside as I could.  That helped the situation a lot.
That rack was made rock-solid and I still have it (some fifty years later) and used it once again earlier this winter when our gas dryer went on the fritz and wasn't usable for three weeks.  That rack is one piece of household equipment with which I'll never part.
Were those times the good old days?  In many ways, yes.  Nothing wrong with a little challenge (little, perhaps, being the operative word) and knowing you can successfully bring self-sufficiency into play.  Plus, there's something about seeing laundry hanging out on the line by a house that makes it all feel lived in, efficient and cared for. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Greetings from the First Day of the New Year of 2021

Has the start of a new year ever been greeted with more hope and heartfelt wishes for it to be better than the one just past?  I think not.  Or perhaps some of us are just girding our loins (what a mental picture) and preparing the best we can for whatever awaits in the coming months.  I am so very grateful for where we live, our community, the little oasis we've managed to build around ourselves and our remaining brain power that enables us to make wise decisions that will keep us safe, sane, healthy and happy as we go into this new year.  I wish the same for all of you.

This is the front of a nifty little book my daughter gave me for Christmas.  Upon unwrapping it I thought, "Well, there are probably good tips in here, basic mechanics of sewing machines I should know.  Maybe."  Then it slowly dawned on me.

You see, a couple of months ago, she, being our resident computer guru, had asked me for my password to some site or another I was having trouble accessing.  My password to that particular site?  Hmmm.  Wait, I have it somewhere.  Some place.  Now where did I mark that down?
It's been my practice to enter my different passwords (as least I'm meticulous about using all different passwords) either on the inside of particular folders or on index cards held together with a big paper clip and tossed in a small box on my desk top.  Wise daughter suggested I organize all my passwords in one spot.

Ta-dah!  Here's the secret, hidey place in which to do just that.  Slipped in with the other "important" books and pamphlets on my desk, not only will all my passwords be in one handy-dandy spot which will be easily accessible, but a burglar looking for all my highly sensitive material (yeah, right) will never be tempted to steal Sewing Machines - Home Guide Series

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Christmas Week

We had a terrific snow/wind storm on the night of December 22nd.  All in all, not much snow accumulation, only 3" if that.  But the wind!  Oh, my.  Supposedly gusts of 70 mph were recorded.  No downed tree damage for us, but we did have wood stove chimney damage.

Of the three wood stove chimneys on the roof, two were affected.  The stove pipe on the stove in the heated part of our attached garage lost its cap.  No big problem there.  But the complete chimney on the wood stove in the kitchen went down.  When Papa Pea went up on the roof to survey the damage, he found the whole roof covered with glaze ice.  Ugh.  Carefully crawling where he had to go, he made temporary repairs which he feels are quite safe until conditions change and he can secure the chimney with guy wires to insure this doesn't happen again.  

The storm left a drift of snow at least two feet high, maybe more, along the south side of the house.  This meant I needed to shovel it off the deck (we keep this clear all winter as a safety precaution in the event we wouldn't be able to get out of the back door for some reason) and walkway for a good distance.  I was very thankful the snow was light and not the heavy, wet stuff.  But, yes, my lower back was a smidge bit ouchy and grouchy before bed that night.

The blowing snow made the wreath on our (protected, if you can believe it) back/main door picture card perfect.

The morning after the storm, Papa Pea was out on the tractor moving drifts of snow when Chicken Mama and her little charge stopped by to open a couple of presents.  He LOVES big machinery of all kinds and begs to sit on the tractor at times even when it's in the shed and not moving.

Chicken Mama had a new fox suit for him (He's outgrown the old one that he dearly loves).  Here she's reading him the Little Blue Truck book we gave him.  The series of Little Blue Truck books are great for little ones.  Especially if they like trucks, bulldozers, tractors, dump trucks, etc.!

I'll close with a picture of the mints dear daughter made for me at Christmas.  Each year she makes her dad "healthy" Mounds bar candies and when asked if there was a candy I'd enjoy, I told her some nights after dinner I'd like just a wee little mint to end the meal.  She came up with these and they are WONDERFUL as witnessed by the immediate taste testing.  The good news is that there is a double layer in the tin.

Hope you're all able to enjoy this coming week between Christmas and New Year's.  Stay warm, safe and healthy.  Sending hugs. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Warm Wishes to You All!

May your holidays be filled with the joy of living and the love of giving.