Tuesday, October 30, 2018


A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a small book at our second hand resale shop called The Little Book of Christmas Joys - 432 things to do for yourself and others that just might make this the best Christmas ever.  Written and compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., it's another in the series of "little books" by this same author of Life's Little Instruction Book, Live and Learn and Pass It On and several others.

Anyway.  I decided to save the Christmas Joys book to read closer to the holiday season, maybe right after Thanksgiving.  But seeing this new-to-me book of his caused me to pull my copy of Life's Little Instruction Book off the shelf and page through it as I've done many times before.

Here are a couple/few of the gems he puts forth:

Give to charity all the clothes you
haven't worn during the past three years.

Good gosh.  I have clothes in my closet I haven't worn in the last twenty years.

Why is that?  It makes no sense to keep them when they obviously either don't fit into my current lifestyle or they aren't comfortable enough to wear or I don't like them enough to wear them.

Do you follow this rather sensible seeming rule of thumb when it comes to your clothes?

Don't take good health for granted.

I've had a serious illness, I'm fully recovered and don't think I'll ever, ever, EVER take my good health for granted.  I feel grrreat (said in Tony the Tiger's voice) 99% of the time for which I shall always be grateful.

Have you ever experienced a serious illness or breakdown of your health in your own life?  Did it make you appreciate good health?  (Is that a silly question?)

Don't smoke.

Easy enough to say, but a really tough one for anyone addicted to smoking.

I smoked for somewhere around a year starting with my first year in college (about 75 years ago).  Criminy, the dorm I lived in even had a large, comfortably furnished room on each floor called "The Smoker."

I was fortunate I didn't continue the habit and was never really hooked.  It was more of a way to fit in socially at the time.

Have you ever smoked?  Do you currently smoke?  Have you tried to quit or are you contemplating doing so?

Never give a loved one a gift that 
suggests they need improvement.

I don't think I've ever done this.  (Hoping this is true.)

However, I have received such a gift.  Even now, several years after the fact, I still do a slow burn when I think about it.  Especially since the person gifting me could have benefited from the particular subject of the book more than I!

I know the "gift" was given to me in good faith; I know the giver did not intend to be hurtful or mean.  But still.

Have you ever been guilty of doing such a thing, thinking you were being helpful?  Or have you ever been on the receiving end of such a gift?

End of my ruminations.  I'd love to hear your reactions to these bits of wisdom as put forth by Mr. Brown. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Settling In For A Do-Nothing-I-Can-Avoid Weekend

Just checked the weather forecast for the weekend and am actually glad to see more rain in the offing.

It's been drizzling on and off all of today, and even though the outside temp has reached the 40s, I've been a wee bit chilly inside.  I'm just too stubborn to push the thermostat on the L.P. furnace up a notch, but did put on a zip-up sweatshirt over my turtleneck and crewneck sweatshirt.  It's not too cool in here; it's me.  I know I'm a bit run down.

Haven't been sleeping well the last of this week and when I am zonked out, my dreams have been wild and exhausting.

As soon as I get the dishes in the sink taken care of, myself in and out of the shower, and my flannel jammies and robe on, I'm parking on the couch until bedtime.  I'm not even going to try to knit, but rather just grab the book I'm reading.

I took this apple coffee cake (for the weekend) out of the oven a while ago.

We had an easy meal of cream of cauliflower soup with some wild rice added for our second meal of the day.

I've already caved and made a small fire in the living room wood stove.  This will be my view from the couch in a short time.

I'm going to try to do nuthin' but relax most of the weekend.  (Wish me luck, please.)

Tell me, dear readers, what do you do to recharge your batteries when your body tells you loud and clear that you're running on empty?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why I'm Not In My Quilt Room Yet

After an especially busy weekend ending with our little butchering project on Sunday, yesterday didn't seem to slow down one bit.

I know I'm a stickler for it, but Monday is my laundry and ironing day so I was up and going at 6 a.m. getting that started.

It was my turn to have my handwork group here at 10 a.m.   There are seven of us gals but, of course, not everyone can make it each time.  Yesterday six of us crowded into my quilt room (hey, I did spend a couple of hours in my quilt room!) and, per usual, the chatter (and the handwork, honest) was non-stop along with a lot of laughter and very good natured giving-of-a-hard time to one another.  (What else are good friends for?)

In honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday, I made a (Tootsie Pop and kleenex) ghost for each of the gals and had the bunch of them in a jar as a  centerpiece on the table.  (The ghosts, not the ladies.)

In the afternoon, Papa Pea asked if I would do a couple of errands in town so after changing yet another load in the washer, off I went.

Since I was there, I couldn't resist stopping in at the library (I love our library) to pick up a couple of novels.  No real need to do so as I'm not even 1/3 of the way through the one I'm currently reading.  The only time I read is if I manage to get into bed at night before my better half, and then I usually can read maybe 10 minutes before I conk out.  I'll bet I've brought about 100 books home from the library in the past year, but have managed to actually read through probably only four.  Sigh.  (That's gonna change this winter though.)

When leaving the library, I remembered our local resale shop has already gone to their winter hours and is open only three days a week, Monday being one of those days.  And, boy howdy, am I glad I took the time to go there! 

We've been looking for some long-handled tongs for a while now for grabbing birds out of the scalding pot prior to plucking the feathers.  This set was just what I've been looking for.

I also found a brand new insulated coffee carafe exactly like the one I already have.  (New one on the left, old one on the right.)  Yesterday morning for my handwork group, I first served from a pot of coffee, then they drained the one carafe filled with more coffee, and I definitely could have used more.  Well, now I'll have a second back-up carafe next time they're here!

Okay, that just about took care of yesterday.  Did I mention I was in bed asleep before 9 p.m.? 

This morning we dug our potatoes.  Not the best crop we've ever had but we guesstimate we got between 125 and 130 pounds.  The number of Yukon Golds were a bit of a disappointment (the light colored ones in the picture), but the ones that did grow were quite big.

All of the potatoes that were very small or had holes in them where slugs had munched will be cooked up on Papa Pea's garage wood stove and fed to the poultry.

This afternoon we harvested apples.  No, not from the paltry number on our trees this year.  Those same few apples that Blue Jays have nearly decimated.  Is that sad or what?

These apples are from a tree in the yard of good friends of our daughter.  It's a very big, old tree that was planted by the husband's grandfather.  No one remembers the variety, but it is a beautiful, healthy tree that had about a gazillion apples on it this year.  It isn't sprayed with poisons or insecticides, yet the tasty apples are unblemished.  What beauties!  Countless people had already come to pick as many apples as they wanted from it and only the ones on the very tip-top were left, but we were offered them if we wanted to take the time and trouble to pick them.  Did we ever!

With the combination of an apple picker on a long pole and an extension ladder, we got about 3 bushels of them.  Considering we thought we were going to be darn near apple-less this year, we're so very appreciative of this couples' generosity.

Now I'm trying to do my weekly ironing (okay, I'm fluffing off getting this post written) and heating up leftover soup and making some garlic bread for our second meal of the day.

And that's why I'm not in my quilt room yet!  (As said by Lily Tomlin in her "Edith Ann" voice from Laugh In.  Anybody but me old enough to remember that?)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Good, Satisfying Day

We've been having night time temps that are slightly below freezing, but we haven't had any rain (or snow!) in the last few days.  So 'twas time to get out into the garden this morning and see if we could get some more compost added to the soil.

Papa Pea spread it on the raised beds that hadn't gotten their dose late this summer . . . the beds I'd first cleared of vegetation.  Before noon I was able to get the compost on four of the beds tilled in.  I know I could just leave it on the surface over winter, but I do believe the little bit of oozing into the soil it does before spring helps if it's incorporated now.

He was surprised to find corners of the compost bins slightly frozen.  I also noticed the very tip-top of the soil in the beds to be kinda crunchy.  Jack Frost is starting to get a grip.

Yesterday I finally got my garlic planted and covered with mulch which is held down with a cattle panel.  We're still living in The Land of the Big Winds so I didn't want to chance all that mulch blowing into the next county.

This coming week promises a warm-up with no more frost for several days, and that's a good thing because . . .

. . . we still have to dig our potatoes, and which we will definitely do this week.  The above picture shows a part of one row of them I planted in the "new" patch.  Looks as though we still have more rocks to pick up in that area.  I cannot believe how many times we've filled buckets and buckets from there already.

This week, I'll also dig and store the gladioli corms which are 6" under the soil and won't have been harmed by this light freezing.  

The foliage of the glads still shows a lot of green, but I'm thinking they have to come out now.  (Would you agree, Karen?)

Oh, yes, I almost forgot that we still have to cover the strawberries with a good blanket of mulch.  (Does the gardening season sometimes seem to go on forever, or is it just me this year?)

We also did some fence mending this morning and got the inside of the garage all set for butchering this afternoon.  Blech, a necessary chore nobody looks forward to.

We have only six geese to do and we're going to skin rather than pluck them so we're hoping we'll be done before midnight.  (That was a joke.  I hope.)  Our good neighbors are coming over to help as we offered the meat to them.  D loves to make jerky (and is good at it), and says he wants to experiment with making it from the ground goose meat.  

Time for me to get going on this afternoon's activities.  Toodles. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Words of Wisdom (Not Mine!)

Spending odd moments lately, trying to go through and clean out, sort and organize my desk, I came across a slip of paper smooshed at the back of one drawer.  On it I had copied down the following wise words.  My sincere apologies for not listing the author as I failed to note the same on the scrap of paper.  Perhaps they were listed as anonymous.  I know not, but at any rate, they struck a chord within me, and I wanted to share them with you.

Strive to live more slowly.

Keep watch for the first snowdrops,
walk outside in the rain,
and listen for the return of the swallows.

Share stories and seasonal feasts around campfires.

Scribble ideas and illustrations
on an adventure in the woods,
on a mountain hike, 
or on an early morning
stroll around your garden.

Choose local, handmade and sustainable.

Try your hand at 
weaving, whittling, foraging
and bottling.

And every day, venture out and

Monday, October 15, 2018

Speaking of Handknit Socks . . .

Below is the first pair of socks I knit for my husband.

These are the gargantuan holes in the heel of one sock. 

This was after last week when I meticulously darned a hole in the toe of the same pair of socks and accused him of not cutting his toenails short enough.

The yarn was (what I thought) a good quality, but you can see it's already started to pill more than one would like.

It seems that this pair of socks held up for about two months, being worn once a week, but is now rapidly falling apart.

The other two pair I've knit him he wears regularly (different yarns) and seem just fine.

I don't know how you tell, but beware of sock yarn that doesn't hold up.  Or perhaps I should say beware of sock yarn that does hole up.  (Haha.)

Drat and darn.  (Pun not intended as I'm not going to waste my time darning these socks anymore.  For all I know, the way things are going, next the cuff may fall off.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Attempting Change

For the past couple of weeks, we've been trying a new meal schedule.

We've always been a three, nutritious meals a day kinda family, but Papa Pea has been doing more and more research that seems to point out the fact that the body actually has to work to digest food.  Also, one of the best ways for your body to utilize and optimize the food you put into it is to create a little bit of a rest or "fast" for your digestion system.  How to do this?  

Go to a two meal a day schedule.  We all normally get that fasting period over night, but rarely during the daylight hours when perhaps our bodies would operate more efficiently if they weren't using the energy to digest more frequently eaten food.

This may seem like a simple thing to do, but it does present a couple of little glitches.  Funny thing, most of the rest of the people we associate with are not programmed to eating their first meal at 9:30 a.m. and their last meal of the day at 4:30 p.m.

So even though we've been trying to stick with this new schedule, it's been inevitable that there are days when it just doesn't work out.

We have an extra body or two around at noon time?  Well, a lunch needs to served.  I want to meet a girlfriend for lunch?  That date naturally falls around 12 noon.  I want to invite folks for dinner?  For some reason, asking them to arrive and be ready to eat at 4:30 won't go over well.

Those days are the exceptions, and we're certainly being flexible about it.  But when it's just the two of us doin' our thing around ye ol' homestead, we've been sticking to the two meals a day . . . and find we like it!

Yes, the hours from 4:30 p.m. of one day until 9:30 a.m. the next day are quite a few, no doubt about that.  Many evenings we'll have a glass of wine or kombucha while winding down last thing before bed.  But other than that we are surviving the 16-17 hours between very well.  It's our bodies' true fasting period and surprisingly enough, we haven't been suffering bad hunger pains that make us uncomfortable either during the day or night.

Hmmm, could there actually be something to this?  Do our bodies need and appreciate the break from the work of digestion of food?

I do know it's saving me time in not having to stop whatever else I may be involved in to make that third meal each day.  (Let alone both of us sitting down to eat it.)  Plus, we've got to be ingesting fewer calories which should eventually lead to slight (at least) weight loss for each of us.  It's been proven thinner people live longer than heavier ones so that's a good thing.  (Lean and mean, that's our goal.)  And our food supplies will last longer, and we'll save money!

Oh, balderdash!  I see now I grew way too much in the garden this year.  (Hee-hee.)

Bottom line, change can be good.  I'll keep you posted as to how this one continues to pan out.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ty-RED! (Tired.)

This past Saturday I got the Brussels sprouts harvested with the much appreciated help of Papa Pea, cleaned, blanched and frozen.  It was a job!

The big wind storm knocked nearly every one of the heavily laden plants over where they lay in the mud produced by our continuing rains.  What a mess that created.  At the moment, I'm so bummed out at any and all mention of Brussels sprouts, I've vowed not to grow them next year.

Today we had rain all day long.  Again.  The same is forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday.  And oh, by the way, we're to expect high winds for tomorrow night with the rain.

There's no doubt in my mind that even if the rain stops by the time we're ready to harvest our potatoes, they will be one huge muddy mess with which to deal.  The carrots won't be that much of a problem as the wet, soft earth will make pulling them easy.  A quick spray off with the hose and they'll be ready to be stored.

I just ran across a quote from John Greenleaf Whittier in his poem, "The Pumpkin":

What moistens the lip, 
and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past,
like the rich pumpkin pie!

(Of course, then there's Garrison Keillor who has said the best pumpkin pie you've ever tasted is not that much different than the worst.)

I'm bummed that I didn't grow either Jack O' Lantern pumpkins or pie pumpkins this year.  Just couldn't find room for them.  I have one package of pureed pumpkin left from last year, but after that I will have no more.  Next year, somehow, some way, I'm finding room to grow pie pumpkins for sure.

Ask me if my legs are sore.  Cowabunga, Chief, are my legs ever sore!  Even though the moisture so frequently falling from the sky has made it nearly impossible, whenever there has been a break in the miserable weather and the surfaces are dry enough, I've been working on painting the trim on the house. 

I've done my share of painting on ladders in my life but never have I had such sore muscles from doing so.  With the paint can in one hand, the brush in the other, I must be trying to hang onto the ladder with my leg muscles, primarily the long ones (quadriceps?) in the front because those are the ones that are causing me to have to drop out of any and all hurdle races.  (Ha-ha.)

I suspect my body is just tired at this point after a busy, busy summer of physical exertion.

A book I'm currently reading is "Swimming in the Sink" by Lynne Cox, the elite athlete and open-water swimmer.  She talks about a medical problem she experienced and the severe exhaustion (both physical and emotional) she suffered at one point in her life.  At that time, she realized she had to listen to her body and would sleep 12 hours, get up, drink a couple glasses of water, eat an apple, go back to bed and sleep another 24 hours straight, etc.

That's what I want to do right now.  Shed all responsibilities, crawl into bed with a stack of good books (for those waking moments) and sleep, read, sleep, read, sleep.  (With my bladder, there would be slight interruptions for trips to the little room a few steps from the bedroom, of course.  And maybe to the kitchen for that apple or two.)

No, I'm not anywhere near severe exhaustion in any way, shape or form, but I wouldn't mind some serious relaxation for a day.  Or six.

And isn't this dreary, dark, rain-filled weather just perfect for that?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bad Wind Storm

We had a whopper-doo of a wind storm last night.  It started about 10 p.m. and roared on until the wee hours this morning.

Grid power went out almost immediately and the winds were clocked as high as 56 mph.

We were up several times during the night really concerned about things that were going bump in the night, but couldn't see much because of the darkness.

This morning our solar energy system provided us with lights, water and power to our freezers and refrigerators so we weren't inconvenienced to any great deal.

We had some damage but, we're happy to report, nothing very serious.

The little house where the three new chicks and their two mamas have been ensconced was topped over by the wind.  Thankfully, all five inhabitants were alive and well, happily pecking in the poultry pasture first thing this morning.  (Talk about being resilient after what must have been a really rough night for them!)

The two cold frames I had on those raised beds I recently harvested were relocated.

This one hung on to its moorings (sort of) but the top was ripped off backwards.

See that cold frame over there in the distance?  It was on the bed in the forefront of the picture.

Given the distance it traveled (and I'm guessing it must have rolled over a couple of times), it still looks to be in good shape.  But we haven't located the top cover for it.  Yet.

The biggest tree that went down was in our back wood working area (convenient, eh?) and missed hitting anything it would have smashed to smithereens.

It doesn't look too big in the first picture, but this one above gives more of an idea of its 18" diameter.  We spent a good part of the day limbing it, hauling the branches away and getting most of it cut into pieces, some of which will, needless to say, have to be split.

There were several trees down that blocked our driveway.  You can see a couple in this picture.

There is a driveway under there somewhere.

There's a main power line through the woods and crossing our driveway about two-thirds of the way down it.  Before we could get to that area, men from the power company arrived and started the job of removing one huge tree that had fallen on the lines.

They said they had cleared two spots where trees had fallen across our driveway to get in to the power line.  That saved us a lot of work we would have had to do.

One has to give the power company employees a whole lot of credit.  They had been on the job since ten o'clock last night working in difficult conditions.  And they do this regularly at all times of the year.

The grid power has now been restored, thanks to those hard-working people (even earlier than we had been told to expect), and I'm exhausted (I think Papa Pea's a little tired, too) and hope there's nothing to interrupt my sleep tonight 'cause I'm gonna need it.  

We're very, very thankful we suffered no real damage from the crazy, high winds that blew through with this storm.

The forecast for us for tonight?  Rain and snow mix, 1"-3" possible.  Here we go!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Still Harvesting . . . and Now Painting

I harvested the last of the green peppers and slicing cucumbers yesterday.  Even though we haven't had a frost yet and the peppers and cukes were in a cold frame, they weren't growing anymore.  This could have something to do with the sunless weather we've had for weeks!

I had a few cukes to share and more than enough green peppers to make my quota of Stuffed Green Peppers for the year.  Also, there are many small misshapen green peppers that our good neighbors want to use in making their homemade "V-8" juice so none will go to waste.

These same good neighbors have been supplying us for some time with delicious tomatoes grown in their quasi-greenhouse.  How wonderful is that?

The year's grand total of Stuffed Green Peppers in the freezer as of yesterday is enough for thirty-three meals for us.  I'm thinking that's a more sensible number than last year when I had forty-five meals worth.  This past spring I found I was foisting them on anyone who sat down at our table.

* * * * * * * *

I know it would have been better to get the trim on our house painted during the summer months, but with other projects taking precedence it just didn't get done.

Thinking September would be a good month to spend on a ladder (!), we finally decided on a paint color and I was ready.  Then the rain started.  If it wasn't out-and-out raining, it was gray and threatening rain.

Oh well, I thought.  October gives us gloriously, sun-filled, warm days.  I'll get the painting done then with no problem.

I know we're only into the first week of the month, but Mother Nature doesn't seem to realize we've turned a new calendar page and wet September is over.  So far, we're yet stuck in the gray, wet, gloom and doom. 

Oh well, October will still give us gloriously, sun-filled, warm days for painting.  Won't it???