Saturday, August 21, 2010

on richer or poorer, or less is more and trading down

About a week or so month ago, a well respected friend referenced me in her blog post.  And then, when she wrote about this it inspired me to write a brief synopsis about my 'less-is-more' story.

Oh who am I kidding?  I'm not sure there is the possibility of a synopsis of any of my stories.  I seem to have a story for everything.  That said, I can sum it up with a few paragraphs, I think.

Let's start with the topic of laundry.  I just came across a cute sign;

So on that note, I'd like to say that that sign applies, but it does not.  I am the sole laundress around here.  We use a clothesline as a dryer from March to November and I kinda like it that way.  In the winter, I try to dry most of our laundry on a rack in front of a massive heat exchanger.

Since we moved here, we've had our fair share of barely-there appliances.  From a herky-jerky washing machine so plugged it just streamed out a spit bath for a wash to the built-in stove/oven combo we used as a stand-alone unit (on wood blocks).  We've made-do, re-used, recycled, begged requested politely, borrowed and stolen (fair-and-square, like out of the trash) items that other people no longer wanted.  

Heres a short list:
  • Red Flyer Wagon
  • Toddlers Trike
  • Fencing
  • Who Knows What Else

My husband (Captain Strong Arms) has been through three chainsaws, three riding lawn mowers, two push mowers, and a few other things I don't even know the names of, all of them hand-me-downs.  He's slightly hugely more able to adapt without cussing than I am.   There were times when I pined to rename the farm "Twice and Again Farms" because with half working things it seemed like everything had to be done twice.

It has put a nice spin of humility on my inner and outer layers of being.  Without bragging, (those of you who know me, know the story behind this) I want to tell you that I went from driving a 2005 BMW 530i to a 1985 Dodge Ram Charger - then a 1992 Dodge Caravan and now to my 1999 Nissan Quest - yes folks, I'm  moving on up.  Captain Strong Arms went from a 2002 VW GTI 337 Edition to a 1982 GMC Sierra One Ton.  A brand new home to a 120 year old home.  A freeway to a country road.  A city girl to a country girl.  On the city girl thing;  I was born in the Inland Empire in Southern California - although I have always loved horses and riding and did that most of my life, I have to admit, I was really a city girl.  Used to all the at-your-finger-tips conveniences of living within city limits.

I must say that we've been very blessed.  People have given a lot of stuff to us.  And in return, I've been able to bless others by giving stuff to them.  It really has come full circle.  When I look around my home and property, I sigh a huge sigh of contented relief that my heart is often so full it overflows.  So to all of those who have given; a smile, a hug and a sincere thank you is in order.  Besides, I'm glad not to have that BMW car payment to go along with that car.  

While we had lots of new stuff, we let go of it when we left California and moved here to North Carolina, and although there have been times of great struggle, I wouldn't trade it for bigger, better, faster any day of the week.  

Let's not forget my little boy.  This is the best environment I can think of to raise my son.  It isn't for everybody, and I don't hold it against anyone who doesn't want to live like this, but it is for us.  Less really is more.  If I can make it through richer or poorer, most anyone can.  And trading down was the best thing I ever did.  

Grateful, Grateful, and Grateful.

Another cute sign I got a giggle from....

p.s. if Captain Strong Arms wasn't Mr. FixIt, we would never be where we are today.  And if I didn't do his laundry, he wouldn't be where he is today would be naked!

just for fun

From the summer of 2007 - Eddie had just turned two!

Turkey Tales

Once upon a time, there were three white production turkeys.  We found them via FreeCycle, an invaluable tool for frugal folk, picked them up and brought them home.

So cute and fluffy - or - as I like to say, "so ugly he's cute".  These are the turkeys raised akin to the Cornish Cross chickens, like the one I rescued. They have been bred to grow quickly and basically grow so large and awkward that they cannot reproduce on their own.

When we first brought them home they were about one year old.  They followed us around like dogs having been raised by a young girl for a 4-H project.  Her mom promised her that they would not slaughter any 4-H project and so this is why they were FreeCycled.  p.s. they eat a lot.  I mean, a LOT!

The turkeys seemed to like living here at Hope Farms.  They were all the rage with the neighbors.  Well, except for one neighbor who came visiting and got chased over the fence feathers flapping, feet a flying and needless to say, her feathers were a bit, er, ruffled.

Unfortunately, one of the turkeys attacked a dear friends daughter and scratched her back, so we had to give him away.  This was of course after we ate the first one for Thanksgiving.  It was the best turkey I've EVER tasted.  Thank You God for this food.  Thank you turkey for giving us food.  Amen.

And then, the last one attacked dear husband!  So we ate him for Christmas!  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

pantyhose, a good jelly bag does not make

We picked, for the very first time in over three years, our Concord grapes the other day.  I cooked them in my slow cooker, crushing them gently and put them through my food mill and then strained the juice and let it sit for 24 hours.  Then, I poured the juice through one leg of some panty-hose I will miss never ever wear to keep the crystals that formed from going into the jelly and making it either a.)  not set up properly or b.)  look ugly unsightly.

In keeping with the reality of farmhouse living, I present to you, in true Pioneer Woman style, a couple "Keepin' it real" pictures of why I titled this post as I did.

I did get it off the wall, but it stained.  Thank goodness for good 'ole Clorox Bleach.  The evidence is gone.

things that seem wrong

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

wordless wednesday

monday blahs

I admit it.  Today I have only done what has to be done.  I ran some errands, took K, the neighbor girl to the dentist, rescued a chicken that had fallen off of a chicken truck.  You know, everyday farmhousewife stuff and then I came home to sit in the air conditioning and read the entire book "Louder Than Words" by Jenny McCarthy.  Then  I painted my nails with a color by Orly called 'Catch The Bouquet' (whatever!) - which must be discontinued because I did not find it on their website - however, because I only paid one dollar for it, I'm happy.

And now, I'm blogging!  

About that chicken.  When K and I were coming home from the dentist - I saw a chicken truck traveling our route home.  I wondered aloud, "maybe a chicken will fall off the truck" - since my husband has told me that it does indeed happen.  I never expected to come up on a chicken in the road, but I did.

You can imagine what I did.  I kept driving right on by stopped the mommyvan and pulled over, parking and turning on the hazard lights.  I listened for trucks and went across the road to get this poor (huge!) chicken, or,  Rooster I think.  He did not know what to do.  It was like watching a child that's never seen dirt before walk on a dirt road.  I picked him up and looked for major injuries - he was bleeding in a couple places but not bad so I put him in the back of the mommyvan.  I even turned the rear a/c on for him.  SUCH a bleeding heart, I know.

K was screeching at this point, "I can't believe you're putting that thing in the car - I'll drive if you want to hold him".  haha!  poor thing.  Not only did she have to go to the dentist today, AND pick up a chicken - but it's her birthday - and the 16th at that!  Happy Birthday Special K!

I wanted to call him Foghorn Leghorn but husband wants to call him RoadRash.  Either one works.

He really did fall off the truck.  Poor guy.

About that book - I highly recommend it - touched by Autism or not.  I had a lump in my throat by page 6 and couldn't put it down.  Disclaimer:  if you can't handle a few cuss words - don't pick it up.  It is, afterall, written by Jenny McCarthy, people.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

salsa un-recipe

into the hot jars now

after the mixing and cooking

this is the first time I have canned salsa
it smells really good, too

So after canning for what felt like days on end last summer, during this winter, we realized that one of the things we often eat and didn't can was salsa!  With a good supply of tomatoes, I decided to make salsa.  I made a sort of "un-recipe" I call it, because I followed no particular recipe and can't remember what I did, exactly....  Then I further complicated the un-recipe by making another batch and not remember what I put into that!  (except more cilantro, less sugar and more crushed pepper)

But, here's how it all went down:

roasted tomatillos
roasted bell peppers
roasted jalapeƱos
roasted garlic
lime/lemon juice
chili powder
crushed pepper

And then it went down on a tortilla chip.  


Sunday, August 1, 2010

go ahead, look back five years

Taken almost five years ago.  My, how things have changed.  I would never imagined I'd be where I'm at today and I wouldn't change it for anything.  

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button