Tuesday, March 21, 2017

WELL!

Yes I'm still here.  Aside from the past three or four days, I've been outside "playing" in the yard.  It's been great; blissful  if one would coin a phrase.  Ah but all good things must come to an end they say.  This week our early spring became a harsh winter; a reminder, if you will, that we ain't at spring yet and things happen.  Georgia weather don't cha know.  Our low's for three straight days stayed around 22, 23 degrees.  Now, I know that isn't cold in some necks of the woods, but in ours, it most assuredly is.  Especially when your blueberry bushes are in full bloom as well as your lone peach tree.   Fortunately my apple trees haven't bloomed yet.  Amazingly, my peach tree still has about 10 living blooms on it.  Not enough to write home about, but considering the temps, admirable.  I lost a chunk of blueberries even with them close to the house.  What part of the blueberry bushes were closest to the house seemed to fare okay, but the further away from the house the branches were, the more damage was done.  I will (I hope) get some blueberries, but not the amount I was hoping for.  I'll take what I get.  There are two good things I focus on.  The first is, with the cold days, I will get blackberries, so yay!  The second thing is that when I went to uncover my strawberry beds after the freeze (they did fine by the way), I noticed two baby blueberry bushes I thought were dead.  Apparently not.  They won't produce for a while, but it's nice to see them there.

Everything else made it through fine.  I've actually been picking spinach and one asparagus spear.  The early tomato plants I started in December are chomping at the bit to get outside, but not yet....not yet.  I went ahead and replanted more tomato plants.  I was within the recommended "Start indoor" time on them, so I won't need to buy any.  I also started cucumber, yellow squash, pumpkin, and sage (a replant).  Everyone came up!  They will start their trek outside today to harden off.  No one goes into the ground until after March.  Never know if we will have another cold snap.

I am luvin being outside.  That is my spot, my element.  It keeps me active, interested, and out of the fridge. That's good for my waist line.  I can not wait til I can post a picture of my back yard this year.  The new (to us) fencing is installed.  A decent job if I do say so myself. Once all is in full swing, I'll take a pic.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

New gardening season is off (not quite rolling)

Starting to get excited with the progress of the garden thus far.  The spinach is almost big enough to start picking off a few leaves.  I hope my family enjoys fresh spinach cause apparently I planted a bunch(pardon the pun).  The lettuce is also coming up nicely.  I didn't plant as much of that, but it sure looks like salads will be in our near future.  In addition it looks like all of my herbs made a return debut this season.  And finally my beets did make an appearance!  Hopefully the deer will stay out.

Out of the 50 some odd tomato plants I started in December, only 10 survived "The Great Fall of 2017".  Those 10, however, are thriving and have already been hardened off.  They'll make for a good experimental group.  I will still be buying tomato plants though.  We will see how it goes with the bigger guys this year.  The basil plants also survived, but rather than have them in pots this  year, they will go directly into the garden.

We've had a warmer than normal fall and winter and so my blueberries are blooming as well as my lone peach tree.  I'm not really that worried about my blueberries, because they're against the house on a south facing wall.  As long as we don't have a really long hard freeze, they should be fine.  My peach tree, though, is in the middle of my back yard.  It's in full bloom and even sports a few green leaves.  Tomorrow nights lows are supposed to be 33.  That's a little too close for comfort for me, but there isn't anything to do about it, but pray.  I have been diligent in spraying my fruit trees.  I really want some peaches!





Speaking of fruit trees and blueberries.  For the past week or so I've been working on more than just spraying the fruit trees.  Starting with my peach tree, I've been removing any grass from around the tree, and adding more compost and lime.  In addition, I've begun to put edging around the trees in order to plant companion plants at the base of each one.  Mint, which I have in abundance, goes well with apple trees and so I have one tree complete and the mint planted with it.  Marigolds will be my companion for the peach tree.  I have those seeds started, but can't plant them outside yet.  My blueberry beds are getting somewhat the same treatment.  They're already in a bed, but I have split up my chive plant into 4 smaller plants and  have put two in each blueberry bed in between each blueberry bush.  I may transplant my Lemon Thyme into the blueberry bushes as well.

I finished the crawl space area.  I love, love, love it!  I smile every time I open the door.  The gutters are working like gutters should.  It is an awesome thing to behold.  It's the little things in life!  So how are things on your homestead?


Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Sense of Accomplishment

Since I last posted my to do list, I've been a woman on a mission.  Some of my accomplishments I paid to have done, but many I, or Dh and I, have accomplished.  I've marked through the items completed so far.

Replace the hinges on our bathroom door
Add gutters to the house
Pressure wash house (Before adding the gutters)
Level and patch "foundation" (lack of gutters has cause erosion to affect the "foundation")
Re-frame crawl space door (it will be framed with 4x4)
Build deep (4 inch) crawl space door with shelves added for storage under the house).
Level entry area of crawl space
Add gravel to entry area of crawl space (mower and tiller will then be stored under there)
Paint the "Foundation"
Measure, purchase and hang a new storm door for the front door.
Rebuild at least one deck (We have three,  but I am not crazy enough to think I can do all of them.  Well.......)
Another trip to the Landfill
Re- Paint  Einsteins room.
Pick up concrete blocks from my mom (Who wants them gone) and make yet another concrete raised bed (Yay).
Pick up vinyl fencing from my mom and install it, decoratively, among my black berry bushes


We hired a company to hang the gutters.  I would rather have it done right.  I was very pleased with the end result.  In addition to hanging the gutters, we also paid them to fix the "foundation" wall in the back.  It was leaning out a lot and needed to be put back in place before it fell on my blueberry bushes.  Not only did they fix the wall, pouring a new footer and everything, but they re-framed the crawlspace door for me and hung the door as well.  He does recommend a thicker plywood door, so we will get that.

Funny thing is, lists get added to, and this one was no exception.  In addition to the above items I've marked thru, I've also

Cleaned the yard (pick up trash etc)
Sprayed and pruned the fruit trees
Pruned blackberry bushes.
Turned under and mulched both blueberry beds.
Moved the compost barrel to a spot in the garden, and have started over with another compost mix
Moved the bird feeder so it is more visible from our bedroom windows.
Repaired and refinished a bird feeder destined for the landfill.  TAADAA!


Painted a wall in the gym in need of a fresh coat (using the color and paints we already had on hand)
Hung a curtain rod (and subsequently a curtain I had) on the window of my laundry room door.
Hung a rack to keep brooms, mops, etc hung up and off the floor of my little laundry room
Patched nail holes in the laundry room (cause I plan to paint soon)
Swept all decks
Started Marigold seeds


While much has been accomplished, the list never seems to reach a conclusion.  When it comes to being a homeowner, and in this case, a homesteader, the list is really ongoing.  That list will continue to grow even as I continue to check things off.  I love it.

So what things are on your spring list?  Has the spring cleaning bug bit you yet?





Saturday, February 11, 2017

Date night doesn't need to break the bank

I hear tell the powers that be "They" say that a date  night is a must for a successful marriage.  Problem is "They" also say that financial issues are the number one cause of divorce.  So does this mean that only the rich have a chance for a successful marriage?  I mean seriously, who can afford to pay a sitter plus pay for dinner and a movie or something. It's an impossible task right?  I say NO!!!

Here's why!

Date nights do not have to entail an actual date.  I know I thought that was crazy too.  Rather this is time.  Time together, just the two of you.  Doesn't matter where or when, just take the time to be together and reconnect.

Dh and my weekdays are not good times for us. By the time he gets home from work, we have dinner, other commitments, etc, there isn't much more time for anything else, and our kids are grown!  Saturdays are our days.  Mainly Saturday mornings.  I will get up and make a pot of coffee.  Our bedroom windows face the back yard where we have a few bird feeders.  Granted the view isn't much in the winter, but come spring and summer it is wonderful.  Saturday mornings we lay around in bed drinking coffee and enjoy the view out our windows.  As the sun rises we have conversations about the kids, work, things we want to do around the house, and most of all memories.  We have a lot of those in the almost 24 years we've been married.  Today was no different.  We finally got our day actually started around 10:45.  I had some take and bake made up biscuits that I baked with some turkeu bacon zapped in the microwave.  Add some cheese and we had some awesome bacon cheddar biscuits in bed with our coffee.  Once we got started with our day it was off to drop off a mower to be repaired, and onto my  parents house to collect some cinder block she was giving us.  While there, and after we loaded the blocks,  we enjoyed a glass of tea on the back deck and talked more while watching her dog, Rusty,play.  She and her sister were out on the town.  We knew this going in.  Once home we shared lunch on the back porch and proceeded to unload the blocks from the truck.  Both of us agreed this was a great day.  We had fun, reconnected, but also accomplished a lot!   Now I know our kids are grown and if you have kids that are small this can be hard.  Hey, We've been there.  You find the time.  You may go to bed later or wake up early.  You may need to get a sitter, but go somewhere you can actually carry on a conversation.  Preferably free.

Our date night is always Saturday mornings for us.  Work comes later.  We're together.  Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter what we're doing. Just make that time with each other a priority.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

What to do, what to do?

Now comes the time of year where things start to get a little nuts.  I don't know what it is about this time of year.  Maybe its the knowledge that spring is just around the corner, but I start to get....ideas.  Yes I start to make plans for projects.  Probably more projects than I can accomplish and yet still I add more.  I wrote down my project list for the next 2 months and, well, it's longer than I thought.  Take a gander:

Replace the hinges on our bathroom door
Add gutters to the house
Pressure wash house (Before adding the gutters)
Level and patch "foundation" (lack of gutters has cause erosion to affect the "foundation")
Re-frame crawl space door (it will be framed with 4x4)
Build a deep (4 inch) crawl space doors with shelves added for storage under the house).
Level entry area of crawl space
Add gravel to entry area of crawl space (mower and tiller will then be stored under there)
Paint the "Foundation"
Measure, purchase and hang a new storm door for the front door.
Rebuild at least one deck (We have three,  but I am not crazy enough to think I can do all of them.  Well.......)
Another trip to the Landfill
Re- Paint  Einsteins room.
Pick up concrete blocks from my mom (Who wants them gone) and make yet another concrete raised bed (Yay).
Pick up vinyl fencing from my mom and install it, decoratively, among my black berry bushes


Now some of these will be quick and some...not so much.  Some I can do alone, and others I will need help from DH.  I will do what I can, when I can.  It goes without saying Etsy is being left alone right now.  The return on this investment in our property far outweighs what I will make from my store right now.

If you are a little confused about how a crawl space can be a storage shed (my goal), we live in a Mobile home and our "Crawl space" is high enough where one can walk in hunched over.  You can't see the door in this picture.  It is in between the 6 blueberry bushes there against the house.  It will be perfect for storing outdoor/garden items.  This will free up space in our actual shed for more important things, and make the items used most frequently in the garden, more accessible.



Like wise, our "foundation" is not really foundational, but rather a permanent structure type of "skirting" that  permanently attaches the home to the land.  It's much better than skirting, however.

A lot of these things require gutters added to the house first, so that is first on our list.  These items have been a long time coming.  Not sure what will be accomplished, and Dh will be there to help on the weekends.  These items are not just for sprucing up the home.  The idea of having more storage space without having to buy another storage shed is awesome!  The idea of mitigating the damage brought on by bad drainage is another fabulous idea.  Right now we don't know if we will retire here or eventually move.  That's still up in the air.  It doesn't hurt,either way, to invest in our home to help it maintain its value.

By the way if anyone has some tips or tricks to help in this endeavor, shout out!  What things are on your to do list?  Has the bug bit you yet?








Sunday, January 29, 2017

All the best laid plans

Hello!  How ya doin?  How's your family?  Glad you dropped in.

Things are normal here.  I did get to the grocery store.  Remember all those wonderful organization tips I gave in my last post?  Yea...well, I got some of them done.  I got my pantry organized, my fridge wiped out/organized, and a list made up.  I wasn't able to get my freezer defrosted or bread made.  Rubic had the flu so we spent about three hours at the..ahem Quick care center Thursday morning finding out that he had the flu and getting him a doctors excuse for work.  That set me back some.  Still the things I was able to do, made it pretty simple to bring home a months worth of groceries and get them put away.  I was then able to get some bread made for sandwiches and pizza crust made for dinner (thank you bread machine).  So all in all a good trip and planning helped.

I did have a bit of a set back which had nothing to do with my grocery shopping trip.  Back the end of December I started some tomato seeds for this years gardening season.  The plan being I would start the season off with larger plants and hopefully have them produce more before getting taken down by our rather hot summers.  Well, they sprouted and were thriving.  We've had some warmer than normal weather and so I have been taking them outside to get some good sunlight.  I don't have great windows for sunlight in my house.  Things were going swimmingly until, while taking them out for their morning sun bathing, I tripped.  Yep!  I tripped.  Seedlings went flying, across the room to land on the floor.  I lost about half of them immediately and about half again since then. The ones still living are not very happy.  THWARTED AGAIN!

Last on my list; this weekend marks a year since I started my weight loss journey.  My goal for the year was at least 52 pounds lost.  I figured that would be a pound a week.  Alas I fell short by three pounds.  My total is 49 pounds lost.  You know what?  I'll take it.  So I didn't make my goal.  I lost.  I helped care for my dad.  I lost my dad.  I started a new venture in my Etsy shop.  The holidays came just like they do every year, but these were a little tougher.  "Life" Happened.  There were many other intrusions that kept me from obtaining the goal I set for myself.  Funny how life happens.  Life happening is not an excuse we use to not workout as some would have us believe.  It's just a fact.  You adapt.  All the best laid plans you know.  The difference between now and then when it comes to life's intrusions was the fact that I didn't stop or give up.  Each  day was a new start and I made the most of those days.  I accepted the consequences of my actions and moved on.  That's why whatever you chose to do to lose weight, needs to be something easily adapted to YOUR LIFE.

All our lives are different and what we need to accomplish our goals is also different.  We're individuals after all.  Adaptability is the key.  To find that silver lining in mistakes you might have made and learn from them, grow from them, not to repeat them. To take lemons life hands you and make lemonade from it so to speak.

So I will keep plugging along.  I'm not going back.  I am told the longer it takes for weight to come off, means it will stay off longer.  Yay!  So I will keep on keeping on.  I'll get the rest of the weight off in due time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Taking Inventory

So this coming Friday is my normal monthly grocery gettin day.   If you can ever get to the point of monthly grocery shopping, I highly recommend it.  Anyhoo, because of said grocery gettin day, I will begin the process of inventorying what I have on hand and what I need.  I would love to be the organized woman who keeps a list near the fridge or something, adding to it as needed, but that is not the case.  I can make a note of something I need mentally, but it never quite gets to paper.  So!  I inventory.

In a way, this is good because while I inventory I clean out my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.  I also go through a "Use it up" week where I make things based on what I need to finish up before grocery day.  Cleaning out the fridge also means using up leftovers.  I can either serve them as is or turn them into something new.  Case in point, I currently have in my oven a loaf of sweet potato bread; like pumpkin, just with sweet potatoes.  We had sweet potatoes as a side last night and had some, but not enough to serve again.  I made the bread this morning with the left over sweet potatoes as well as the syrup they were canned in.  We also had some left over corn and green beans, but those are in a container (together) in the freezer to await my next veggie soup night (Probably next week).  This will be added to as the week goes on until all the tidbits are ready for soup.  I have some fresh spinach that will be turned into a quiche for breakfast probably tomorrow, and some left over chicken that will be turned into a chicken casserole more than likely tomorrow night.



Fast forward a few days......well I made all the things I planned with the exception of veggie soup.  That will more than likely be tomorrow night since I now have two patients in the house in the form of DH and Rubic.  Bless their hearts they have some kind of bad cold or flu.  Rubic has the worst I'm thinking.  Tonight I'm making a batch of cough syrup for both of them.

I'm nearly out of bread so before I shop on Friday, I want to bake about 4 loaves and 2 batches of hamburger buns.  That way they will already be in place in the freezer before I have things to put in there.  It insures I don't end up with something left out of the freezer.  If I have time I will clean out the freezer, and wipe down the fridge.   I know all of this sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn't.  By taking these steps before I go to the store, I have less to take out or move around and, since everything will be organized, it will be a simple matter of putting things away once I get home.

Whatever your method, a little organization can go a long way in making a rather tedious chore rather ...less tedious.  I can buy groceries nine ways to Sunday, it's the putting them up that's the problem.  Whatever I can do to make that easier is a plus.  I hope maybe something in here might help you in doing the same thing.  Have a great day!