I know, I know, it’s been so long since I posted. The holiday season was emotionally very challenging for me, so I just decided to take a break from some stuff that wasn’t absolutely pertinent. My house is currently being decluttered as that took a backseat, too. Around here, I have to militantly stay on top of the clutter with three stuff-loving men and minimalist me, or it gets completely out of hand. And nothing makes my soul sore in the way that having piles of stuff everywhere does. Honestly, I just feel like I’m drowning in a sea of stuff sometimes. I can completely see how “hoarders” get lost in all that baggage and it becomes overwhelming. I don’t feel good unless my surroundings are in control and things are where they should be. Do any of us, really?
Things around the homestead have been at a bit of a standstill as it’s winter season here. I got an Instant Pot type cooking appliance for Christmas from my in laws and so have been having fun trying out some different recipes there. I like that I am able to even pressure can in it for small batches of leftovers and such. I made chili the other day and if we don’t end up finishing up the leftovers this weekend, I will be putting the rest into pint jars and canning for later in the season. Not wasting food is a big thing for me, as I guess it is for a lot of us homesteaders. My husband works so hard to supply the money that purchases either the food directly or the seeds, soil and equipment to make food in our home possible, I feel it is a travesty to throw it away. Some nights we have some pretty interesting dinner combinations when I’m asked the eternal question, “what’s for supper?”, and the answer comes “Yay! LEFTOVER NIGHT!” when I open the fridge and am met with a plethora of different size Pyrex dishes full of this and that. That can be met with either smiles if it’s favorite leftover meals, or groans if they didn’t so much care for it the first time around. But, I’m pretty good at repurposing items like making nachos out of leftover chili, or shepherd’s pie from leftover mashed potatoes, things like that. Leftover rice finding it’s way into a soup or casserole is also pretty common. It’s in the creativity of the re-use sometimes that makes it all work out.
Our homestead is looking bleak and wet and basically just plain yucky out there. We have had a very, very wet autumn and winter season following our rainforest-like summer, and the snow has been elusive. I am SURE we will be getting dumped on here at some point in the near future, no doubt about it. If there is one sure thing about New England, we won’t escape the winter without copious amounts of snow. Often times it doesn’t arrive until January with the weather patterns changing like they have in the last 15 years or so, but it will be coming. The hardest is when the bulk of it arrives in February and March as we will then have snow into April and that stinks when you are just ITCHING to get the seeds in the ground. I usually wait for the first good cold and snowy day to sit down with a steaming cup of tea and my seed catalogs and plan out the garden for the spring. But this year, as I look at the next 10 days of the weather forecast telling me that no real snow is predicted to fall, I’m thinking I may need to get on that task anyways.
I have also been busy with crocheting and knitting projects. I created for Christmas gifts a couple of hat and scarf combinations for loved ones this year, so had to spend some hours making those. This was fun as I was able to try out some new stitches on smaller projects. I’m not great at the yarn arts, mostly because I really dislike counting every row. But, if you don’t count the stitches in every row, then your project ends up hourglass figure-ish and doesn’t look very nice. Sometimes even when I do count every row, I get that same affect and I find that really frustrating to work with. And I know, sometimes it is stitch tension, but I’m careful about that, so don’t always know why that happens. Currently I am working on an easy hoodie pullover for myself. That’s coming out pretty well and I may even be able to wear it off the homestead. I do have a few things that I’ve made for myself that are far from perfect and so I wear them exclusively on the homestead. Here, no one cares that they aren’t perfect. I love that about my crew.
We have been working on smaller projects around the house. My husband patched a board that is under my office chair that had rot. Every time I would try to either pull my chair up or back, I had to avoid the rotted board. That got old very quickly and after doing that for over a year, and carving the board up with wheel ruts, he took care of that while I was away a few days ago. Sometimes its the simple pleasures of just little things that we need to focus on. It is now much more enjoyable and less aggravating for me to sit at my desk and not try to rally race around the rotted floor board. We have miscellaneous boards that are rotted here and there on the floor of our almost 200 year old home. We’ve repaired quite a few of them now, with a few to go. It’s all a work in progress. Hubby is also putting some shelves up in the space where we removed the old entry door in the living room, which will be great storage for the items for the tv – like dvds and the blue ray player, stuff like that. I have painting on my list for the next couple of weeks (and if you’ve been with me for a bit, you know I HATE painting, so that’s been put off as long as I can let it be, time to get on it). I am also going to be looking into tiling that backsplash in the kitchen, just need to find the right tile. I have searched and do find some that I like, but then for whatever reason, I don’t actually order them. So, time to get on that as well.
Hmmm…other topics…Okay, without getting political here, because I really don’t want to discuss that on this blog (I feel that everyone’s politics are their own business. What happened to the days of not judging someone by who they voted for? Back before everyone felt the need to advertise their choices on the front yards?…but I digress), I have become increasingly concerned about the state of our country’s finances. Having a husband who has been laid off numerous times at the whim of the economy, we’ve had to pay closer attention to this trend than perhaps most do. So, I have decided to get the pantry in line. I have been rotating stock, using up the older stuff and finding creative ways to restock the staples in the pantry so that we are prepared with a bit of extra food in the event that it is needed at any point. Now, living in New England, where we can get ice storms that will leave us pretty incapacitated and without power for even weeks, I keep a decent pantry on hand anyways. But we have very limited space here with not having a useable basement for storage and so I am always trying to eek whatever precious pantry space I can get out of our little house. I didn’t do much canning this fall because I was working through all that we already had stored up, so this upcoming harvest season I will be more focused on that for sure. But, I am feeling a little better knowing that we will be okay for a bit having staples in the pantry and a freezer full of meat in the event that we need it. Thinking about this has me reconsidering if we should do a flock of meat birds this year to restock the freezer should that be a concern. It’s never time to think about it WHEN you need it, but long before. I have three other people along with animals depending on me to plan ahead, and I take that responsibility very seriously. Yes, time to do some planning, I reckon.
Okay, time to get busy here. I’ve got some seafood chowder planned for dinner for a friend that is coming over tomorrow and we have a basketball game tonight for our oldest son, along with some firewood that needs stacking. What do you have planned on your homestead this weekend? Want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful, healthy, bountiful and peaceful New Year. May 2019 be good to us all. I’ll be back in touch as soon as I’m able, until then, be well, be kind to each other and blessings to you all.