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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Spring Fever

 Hello dear friends!  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.!  As usual, I will start with the weather report. Ha!  Cold and windy.  But we finally got a few pretty snows.

Isn't it pretty?  Outside and in.

I do love a pretty snowfall!  In spite of the cold, we are thinking of Spring and have started collecting our maple sap.  We've boiled down over a quart of syrup already. Kind of odd weather  this year; a few days above freezing, than a couple days of bitter cold and wind.  Most of our snowfall has been that ugly slushy stuff, but I'm happy to have had a few lovely ones. 

We also started our onion seeds.  Starting seeds is sort of a bone of contention in our home.  In the Fall we purchase our seeds during the Black Friday sale and give great consideration to them, but by the time seed starting starts, Ran has the seed packets squirreled away throughout the  house and garage and mixed with older packets.  By that time all the varieties that I have given so much consideration into are all mixed up and we cannot remember what we bought or why.  So we never really have the garden we envisioned when we were planning.  We just kind of gather up as many packages as we can locate, and decide on the spot what to plant.  It usually isn't until July that I discover those special herb  and rare flower seeds I intended on planting. tucked away in a tin or cubby.  We are usually pretty organized and analytical people when it comes to most things, but when it comes to planning a garden, we tend to fly by the seats of our pants.

One thing I plant every year is gourds.

For some reason, gourds just capture my fancy.  I have them in bowls and crocks and hanging on knobs everywhere.  This year I will probably plant some spinner gourds. So cute.  And I'm going to try my hand at growing broom corn and making a handcrafted broom this year. BTW, Ran made that lovely pie safe for me.  If you can't afford an antique learn to make your own.  He sprayed the tin panels with vinegar and stuck them outside to  be rained and snowed on for several months to give them that authentic rusty, crusty look of the primitives that I love.


Whilst we are still in the hibernation period, I've finished two more projects. This blue Scandinavian  sampler:

And this pair of red petticoat socks:

All the materials came from the thrift store including the cross stitch chart.  My word!  Crafting can be expensive!  I love to watch flosstubers  on YouTube and the  money they spend on their hobbies is unbelievable with their special linens, flosses and even cross stitch charts run around ten dollars.  Add in the cost of framing, for very few of them actually frame their work themselves, I bet they have almost a hundred dollars into each work by the time it is finished.  My little sampler cost $1.29 for the linen (it had the original price tag on it for over $14) 59 cents for the chart and 50 cents for the floss.  And I have lots of linen and floss left over.  So what does that add up to? $2.38?  And the frame was 50 cents picked up at a garage sale this Summer. So for less than three dollars and a month's worth of work I got the perfect sampler to fit over a little rosemaled shelf.  Couldn't be happier with it if I had paid a hundred dollars.  

BTW, see that pretty Meissen candleholder?  Paid a quarter for it a thrift store.  Ditto for the soft paste, two-hundred-years-old  blue and white cup next to it.  I have always loved antiques and it took me years to save up for my first "genuine" one, a Victorian mirror (ugh!). Although I couldn't afford any, it didn't keep me from going to antique stores and looking at them and going to the library and reading about them to educate myself, so I would be able to spot them if I ever came across the real McCoy at an unbelievable price.  And it's amazing how often it happened.  The other day I was telling Ran that we have become one of those people that we used to read about when we were younger that had so many antiques their homes were like a living museum.  How we used to read about those people and sigh.  It will never happen to us, we just weren't born to such good fortune. This happened the other day when I was cleaning out my linen cupboard and a pretty stoneware piece that I had forgotten all about fell out between the folds of a runner. How I love antiques!  It's such a thrill for me to see the potter's thumbprint in the glaze and think that two-hundred years ago he was putting it in a kiln. How many generations is that?  Just think of all the people that have loved and valued that simple crock!

Anyways, enough of me waxing on about antiques!  The socks were knit from Rowan felted tweed yarn.  I paid $1.50 for two skeins from my local thrift store.  I checked the other day and the yarn is still available.  It runs around $15 a skein.  $30 for a pair of socks?  Not I, said this cat.  I know many knitters that will only use the yarns called for in a pattern, but I love, love, love, finding some old vintage yarn and making a pattern my own.  And some of those old vintage woolen yarns are so much nicer than the new stuff.  Don't be afraid to try!

The Pantry

Well, we are still eating out of the pantry.  For those that are interested today's meal consisted of chicken and gravy on homemade biscuits, with a side of broccoli and strawberries for dessert. The chicken was  home- canned as was the broth to make the gravy.  The broccoli and strawberries were homegrown and frozen.

Basically, we are just trying to eat through the jars of 2021 and 2022 food to use them up and to make room for the coming canning season.  This isn't about saving money or anything like that.  Just rotating my stock. As space comes available, I'm starting to restock the shelves.  I canned 8 quarts of winter squash the other day.  We still had more, so I gave some to a neighbor and some to our friend Tyler for his chickens. Note to gardeners:  Mooregold squashes are very prolific! And wonderful keepers.  And I prefer them to pumpkin for baking.

Stocking Up

The other day Ran and I were reminiscing, as old people, we do that a lot. Ha!  We were chatting about back in the late 60s and early 70s everyone had spaghetti for dinner on Friday nights in our little village.  Back then Catholics were pretty strict with not eating meat on Fridays and the fixings for spaghetti could be grown quite easily even in a postage sized lot, which was the typical size of a village lot back then.  Just room enough for a fruit tree and a small garden, the kids played at the park or in a vacant lot.  It wasn't uncommon for Catholic families to have eight or more kids, so they ate a lot of spaghetti.  It wasn't long before the Lutherans on the other side of town caught on to spaghetti on Friday nights as a good and thrifty idea. So back when we were kids, if you were invited to dinner at anyone's house on a Friday it was a pretty safe bet you were going to be eating spaghetti. When we were first married we followed with that tradition.  Only I added a side salad and garlic bread made from the week's stale bread.  Often I would buy the sauce, because it made for a speedy meal  that way.  We always bought the cheap sauce that came in the can and was located on the bottom shelf in the grocery store. So the other day I was wondering if you can still buy spaghetti sauce in a can and if it is still so cheap.  Checked our local Meijers store and Hunt's sauce in a can was $1.37, then I went to Save-A-Lot and their store brand was even cheaper.  That with a pound of store brand spaghetti, which is what? about $1.50 a pound?  You have a pretty cheap meal.  So one of the things  if you don't can and want to stock an emergency pantry, is get yourselves some of that cheap spaghetti sauce that comes in a can.  You can always add meat or peppers or mushrooms or whatever you want to it, if you want something fancier and can afford it.

Well I suppose this post has rambled on long enough.  We are still in our quiet season and there isn't much excitement going on, not there ever is. I hope you all have wonderful week ahead!



Tuesday, February 13, 2024


 Hello dear friends!  I had planned to write something more fun, and I probably will, but today I was watching something on YouTube and it made me upset, so I thought I'd write about it .  

I have always made assumptions about the readers of this blog.  I assumed that you all were fairly intelligent and knew how to read, otherwise why would you be reading my long-winded blog?  Certainly not for the beautiful photography.  I see other blogs and YouTube channels where they teach people how to hang laundry and make oatmeal, and I think they are silly.  And quite frankly, insulting.  Anyone with basic reading skills, ought to be able to read the carton of oatmeal and figure out how to make oatmeal from scratch, and well even a four-year old child  can figure out how to throw clothes over a clothesline.  Maybe it wouldn't be the nicest, neatest job, but they could do it.  

So anyway, today I was watching this person say that my attitude  that people know how to do things, such as read instructions, is an "elitist" ( how I loath that term) attitude.  Elitist? Really?  I was born into an average blue-collar family and have been so poor at times in my life that I have gone to bed without any food.  I was never taught how to cook or economize while growing up.  In fact, my mother never did any of those things to teach me.  Just because you were "taught" one way as a child, doesn't mean you cannot change your thinking as an adult.  Until her dying  day, my mother ridiculed me for my old-fashioned  thrifty ways.  BTW, when my father died, my parents were in debt, so I paid off my father's debt, even though I had two children in college and could ill afford it, so that my mother wouldn't have to worry about paying the loan off.  I do not write this to talk ill of my parents, but just to illustrate the attitude about thriftiness I grew up with. Anything that I have learned in life, as far as home economics, I learned from reading. I didn't have some "elite" schooling that trained me in home economics. Back when I was starting out, there was no internet, I couldn't just look it up on my phone, I had to go to the library, use an old card catalog to locate the book, and read it.  If I bought a new appliance, I read the instructions manual before using it.  I am, by no stretch of the imagination, the brightest bulb in the pack, so I always assumed that if I could learn these things, so could you.

I think what it all comes down to, is the willingness to learn.  No one can tell me that any person with an average intelligence  cannot figure out that it is less expensive to buy a loaf of cheap store bread, some cheese and a can of tomato soup and make grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, than paying forty dollars for one fast food meal for their family of four.  Even a child can figure out that if they only have a penny, they cannot afford a box of Legos.  I know, I have experienced really hard times, when I wasn't sure where the next meal was going to come from, so I do know that sometimes things are just out of our control, no matter how hard we try to prepare, but I think, I assume, that a lot of people are just looking for an excuse  not to try. And yes, I assume it is because they are just plain lazy. After all, taking time to learn, takes away from time watching Tik-Tok videos or texting, or whatever people do these days to entertain themselves.

And you know what?  The more you learn, the more you want to learn.  Every skill you master, makes you want to master another.  Every lower bill I receive, makes me want to see what else I can do to make next month's even lower.  So anyway, if I stepped on anyone's toes, because of my "elitist" assumptions that you all are intelligent and willing to learn and are capable of figuring things out for yourself, well then perhaps you shouldn't be reading this blog.  The people I always admire are those that are willing to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and I hope that you, dear readers, are of the same ilk. So good or bad, let me know your thoughts.

Until next time!