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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.

Crafting

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!


Hugs

Jane

13 comments:

  1. Wow...200 years old. You have found some beautiful items! The snow is pretty...reminds me of the Dr. Zhivago movie. Some amazing snow scenes there!
    I remember spaghetti being the main thing on a restaurant's kids' menu along with hot dogs when I was growing up. So when I started having grandkids I served spaghetti. And they didn't like it! I couldn't believe it. lol. Growing up we had fish sticks almost every Friday.
    Beautiful pie safe (Ran). And pretty socks...they look comfy. Yes crafts are expensive! I actually regret starting my crafts after my kids were grown. I mean, I wish I would've taken up knitting and crocheting instead of sewing, photography and soapmaking. Knitting and crocheting is more of a skill that is too expensive to buy the finished products and so nice to have. hugs,andrea

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  2. I'm delighted to catch up with you again. For some reason, my blogger reading list didn't give me updates.
    A friend at church gave a talk and asked how many present could eat for a year from the food supplies they have on hand. We probably couldn't make a year of balanced meals, but other than eggs, dairy, and fresh fruit we could manage quite well. We live in a rural area where many families raise gardens, can and preserve as well as buying staples in bulk. Thrifting and repurposing are part of a long-term lifestyle.

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    1. Hi Sharon! I always say that June-October we eat so many fruits and vegetables and green leafies, that it balances out if we don't get so much in the winter. We keep a sprouting mixture and eat sprouts during the winter to get some of the green leafies. Yes, you certainly have to look at it as a lifestyle. I know you do! I'm confident that you have a nice stocked pantry. We always look to our ancestors for how to live. They were a wise bunch of people. Hope it is getting warmer down your way!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  3. Jane, I looked up the Mooregold squash and it looks so interesting! Thanks for the recommendation! I will try to find some seed! My husband likes pumpkin cake but I make it out of butternut squash and it’s delicious. I’m going to try making it out of Mooregold. Thanks for blogging! I am a longtime fan! Sherri

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    1. Hello Sherri! If you'd like some, I would be glad to send you some seeds. We save ours from year to year. We've been growing this variety for over thirty years and it has never disappointed us. Anyways, if you want some seeds, you can e-mail your address at janezempel@yahoo.com

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Oh my! Thank you so much! I will take you up on the offer! I am a seed lover! My stepfather has been growing the same corn for 50 years and is going to share some with me. I would be glad to share with you also. It’s what would be considered an “Indian Corn.” It’s blue and quite pretty! Thanks for your generosity! Sherri

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    3. We gardeners have to stick together, Sherri! We grow heirloom blue corn also. It's called Hopi Indian corn. We have plenty of seed corn, but thank you for the offer. We just discovered this year if you take the dried kernels and roast them in a bit of oil (like popping popcorn but they don't pop) the kernels make a delicious snack. Anyway, I would be overjoyed to share my seeds.

      Hugs
      Jane

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    4. Good news! The seeds arrived alive and well—so to speak! Lol. Thank you again! Sherri

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    5. Glad they arrived, Sherri. Hope they grow well for you!

      Jane

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  4. Hello Jane, it seems ages since I read a post from you. Not your doing, only my sporadic blog forays to blame. But your post popped up in my reading list which I only rediscovered a few months ago. I recognized you right away though, and it made me happy to read you again.
    I can't believe the cup, most things I thrift are late 70s clutter. But sometimes a rare jewel might pop out. The stitching is lovely, it made me want to find a needle. I have never been a great cross-stitcher, but I can sew a few things here and there. Have a couple more of those free seeds? I should not ask, but oh well. 😀 annie
    Ann Austin

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    1. I'd be happy to send you some seeds, Annie. Just send your address to the e-mail given in my comment to Sherri. Most of the stuff I find in the thrift stores is from the 90s or later but every once in a while our local Habitat for Humanity gets too much clutter and they put all the misc. china and knickknacks in bins for people to root through. That's were I found the cup and some antique transferware. It's amazing it survived all that rooting around it's so delicate. Well anyway, I'll try to get those seeds out to you as soon as you e-mail me your address.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Hello Jane
    I keep up with blogs I like by seeing their updates on my blog’s sidebar. But for some reason, yours always stays at the bottom. Google frustrates me so much! But there is nothing to do but live with it.
    It’s amazing that your garden is so unplanned but it feeds you all year. I think many gardeners spend a lot more and harvest a lot less than your family.
    I’m glad you’re blogging. I enjoy seeing your handmade sampler and socks made for so little.


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    1. Hi Rhonda! I never get an e-mail that you left a comment like I do for others. Kind of strange. Who knows?
      I keep a running list of things I want to can during the year. Things we are running short of. We can never can enough carrots, for instance. Helps us know what to focus on for the year. We always grow too many peppers because we grow a variety for different purposes; paprika for paprika powder, bell for eating fresh, jalapenos for cowboy candy. And there's some things my husband just likes to grow. Ha! Hope all is well with you and yours!

      Hugs
      Jane

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