Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

The opening line from the first song in the movie Oklahoma!  “Oh, what a beautiful morning…”   It is a beautiful morning in my small spot of Oklahoma today.  The sun is out and its going to be a warm day again.  Not bad for December. 

So, this of course leads to thoughts of spring and the new garden.  I briefly purused my 2009 Bountiful Gardens catalog yesterday and decided to grow some grains – hulless oats, specifically.  Supposed to be a rich source of protein and carbs and easy to harvest and store.  We’ll see… so, what else?  Purple hull peas, okra, Roma tomatoes, STRAWBERRIES!!!, gerkins for dill pickles and I’ll cave and grow yellow squash for my husband.  Personally, I can’t get the nasty stuff past my lips unless its raw with LOTS of Ranch dressing – the cooked version makes me gag.   

Back to the oats.  The catalog says I needed to plant in the fall – well, too late now – but it does well if planted in February.   So, this speeds up the process some.  I need to make a decision on where to make the first plot and get some newspaper down and layer the bed and let it cook under black plastic for about six weeks.  Then is should be ready to plant.  So says the Lasagna Gardening book anyway.  I need to find it and refresh my memory.

I also need to work on my food/water storage list.  My problem is going to be storage space.  I have a blank wall in the garage now that the dog treat baking stove is gone (one of these days I’ll stop celebrating, I promise, but it still feels too good to be rid of the business right now), so maybe I can put in some shelving or a cabinet for the water and canned goods – hmmm, not a bad idea.  Of course, I’d really like to have a freezer, too.  But in the event that we have no electricity for an extended period of time, a freezer will only be a problem to deal with.  Shelving sounds more practical.  

With all this to do, there’s the distraction of the new quilt.  I don’t know what it is about fabric that draws me so.  Its the colors, the softness, the idea of making a work of art that will last for decades.   Its addictive – I guess there are worse addictions.  Sugar and fabric are mine.  

Have a great day everyone.  Remember –  keep it simple.  Life is too short to make it complicated.

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Goodbye Christmas – Hello New Year

Christmas was kinda bah-humbug for me this year.  I’m really glad its behind us and I’m really looking forward to the new year ahead.  No more dog treats – ever, ever, EVER!!! 

Perhaps its the fact that we’re forecasted to have 65 degrees and sunshine today that has me ready to start gardening.  I ordered three new books today: Living Without Electricity (primarily for the chapter on laundry), Gardening When it Counts Growing Food in Hard Times (from the Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series – hmm…wonder what else is in that series?), and The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.   I still need to watch the video on the square foot gardening method that I bought at the end of last summer.  I also got the 2009 catalog from Bountiful Gardens and can’t wait to delve into its pages.   

I am SO looking forward to doing something new and creative this year.  I’ve started a new quilt and signed up for a mystery quilt class in March.  I’m going to attend my first meeting of the local quilt guild and perhaps even volunteer to organize retreats – something I LOVE to do.  

I even made my first purchases toward our 1-year food/water stockpile.  I didn’t buy much, although it was tempting to load up the cart at WalMart.  I need to take the time to sit down and put together a comprehensive list of what we will actually need rather than just buying on impulse because I’m in the mood.  I’m reading Crisis Preparedness and it has a lot of good information in it, although a lot of it seems overly complicated.  Maybe I’m just overwhelmed a little at this point by the thought of putting together a list of everything we might need to live without food replenishment resources for an extended period of time.  I also want to learn to cook on an open fire.  Wish I could raise chickens, too, but local ordinances prohibit it.  So much to think about.

Why, you ask do I want to do all this?  I don’t know, just an urging in my spirit to be prepared, to know how to live in survival mode, and to be able to teach others how to, as well.  Oh, well, baby steps.  I’ve said all this before, so I won’t repeat myself. 

So, what do I wish for everyone for the new year?  A desire to live a simpler life, a conscious removal from the consumer driven, media directed lifestyles we all live, but  most of all, my wish – no, my prayer – for everyone is to know the life-changing, life-saving love of the Saviour. 

Keep it simple.

Catching Up

Wow.  I knew it had been a while since I posted anything here, but checking the date it’s been over 60 days.  So, not that anyone but me cares, but I will do a little catching up. 

I sold the dog treat business Nov. 1.  Yeehaa!!  The majority of the money went into making some long needed repairs on our house.  I had the two huge trees in the backyard cut down.  Now I will have a place to plant my first lasagna garden next spring and actually be able to grow something!  I’m really looking forward to it.  before

after2

Next, we had the majority of the wood siding on the outside replaced, which used about half the money, but was a long overdue project.  It should last us many years.  Now, all we need is some warm weather and the motivation to get out there and paint.  We got the bare wood primed before cold weather set in which is a good thing, but I’m sure the neighbors probably don’t appreciate the way it looks.  That’s life. 

I also got new countertops in the kitchen and 2 bathrooms.  I chose a laminate rather than granite.  For one thing, granite would be overkill for our 1975 ranch house and we couldn’t afford it anyway.  But what I chose has the look of granite and I’m really happy with my choices.   The hall bath has gotten an overhall.  We took down the nasty dark wainscote paneling stuff and removed wallpaper that was starting to crinkle at the seams from all the moisture.  What a job.  Let’s just say it took a heck of a lot longer than I anticipated and required a lot more spackle to repair the dings in the drywall.  Texturing went well, though it also seemed to take forever.  We had to take out the toilet to get the new floor installed.  So, with our son coming home from college for Xmas, we had to get his bathroom functional in a hurry.  Saturday was a marathon of finishing texturing, priming the walls, painting the walls (after four paint color trials), getting trim behind the toilet installed, reseating the toilet (no leaks – yeehaa!), putting up a new light fixture, new shower curtain…..whew, tired, but done!  Needless to say, it will require a second coat of paint, didn’t even think about the texturing and painting that needs doing on the ceiling where we scraped off the old popcorn, and we still have the old cabinets to paint and trim to install around the baseboards and door frame.  But he can shower and the toilet is functional which was our goal.  Needless to say, Sunday was a day of rest at our house – which is should be anyway.  We enjoyed the new Jim Carrey movie at the theater and ended the day with roast, potatoes and carrots from the crock pot where it had been simmering all day.  Yum! 

So, once the bathroom is completed in a couple of weeks, I will be able to start the repainting in the kitchen.  The new countertops are black with a dark cream/brownish marbled pattern.  My yellow cabinets and terra cotta wall kinda clash now.  One change leads to others. 

I’ve been reading a book on crisis preparedness and thinking a lot about food and water storage.  Haven’t really done anything about it yet except to buy 25 pounds of wheat from the food co-op.  I really wanted to buy myself a hand crank grain mill for Xmas, but they are a little pricey.  Will save up for one.  I also want to learn how to cook over an open fire and on the hearth.  I have a couple of cast iron pans, but want a dutch oven and a few other things.  I’m going to a bread baking class in January.  Of course, it will not entail baking without electricity, I’m sure, but the basics will be there. 

Thinking about this sort of thing brings to mind a conversation my husband and I had last week.  We are so fatigued with the whole holiday media frenzy. Buy, buy, buy!  Traffic is off the charts and tempers are short.  Why do we put ourselves through this every year?  We bought very little in the way of gifts this year – just for the kids.  The adults all agreed we have enough stuff and none of us can really afford it, especially the elderly among us who are really struggling financially.  My husband and I were wishing we lived away from the city, self sustaining, off grid, not dependent on anyone else.  Why can’t we just celebrate Christmas without all the hoopla, just go to a nice traditional candlelight Christmas Eve church service, celebrate the birth of Christ, enjoy a quiet Christmas day and say no to all the hype.  I’m just tired.  I really want the whole “holiday season” thing behind me this year.  I feel obligated to travel to my parents’ house since neither of my sisters will be there this year.  They live only a three hour drive away compared to what used to be a six hour trip, but still, it just seems like a lot of effort.  My Dad’s health has been dicey this year and that makes the obligation felt even more.   So, selfishness aside, we plod on.  

Things have been hard at work, too.  Co-workers going through some really tough personal issues that for some reason they seem obligated to share with me.  I often ask the Lord why he continually puts these people in my life.  In the past, I have prayed to be spared their venting and crying in my office.  It got so bad with a couple of women about three years ago that I almost quit just to get away from the depression.  Fortunately, they moved on to other jobs.  Things have been going well until lately when two more hurting souls came into my department.  Now I know that this is my calling.  I have known for a long time that my spiritual gifts included intercessory prayer, but sometimes He makes it really “in my face” so that I will pray unceasingly.  I don’t know why God requires us to pray.  He can certainly work in peoples’ lives without it and does, but for some reason, he also works in response to fervent prayer.  So, here I am once again, with sadness, pain and depression dumped in my lap.  I’m just so grateful its not my own.  I obediently pray over and over, each time some new crisis occurs and am so glad my own family is doing well.  Our son is adjusting to life away from home and has matured into a wonderful young man.  Now, if we could just get him locked into a new church home.  But that will come with time.  My husband and I still have our jobs, can still pay our bills and are even managing to save a little.  Life is good in Oklahoma and I am grateful for it.   

I count my blessings every day.  I hope you do, too.