Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August

Rioting a bit too quietly maybe.

Gasoline

The Car ('08 Honda Civic, 37 mpg)
Miles driven: 1,107
Gas bill: $51
Estimated gallons used: 30

The Truck ('02 Ford Ranger, 26 mpg)
Miles driven: 328
Gas bill: $30
Estimated gallons used: 13

Transportation Total
Total miles driven: 1,435
Total gas bill: $81
Estimate of total gallons used: 43

Electricity & Heating


total usage: 624 kWh
daily usage: 20 kWh
bill: $124
portion of bill for renewable energy program: $8

Objects In

And I thought July was bad.

Non-consumable 
  • a foam cow the nice dairy woman at the farmers market gave to my kid before I could say "God in heaven do we not need that in my home"
  • 8 little ceramic magnets
  • a new kitchen faucet that doesn't leak
  • 2 small wooden trays
  • two sets of tangrams, with book (used)
  • 100 wood screws
  • 2 1x3x6 common boards, for Apple's table
  • 20 brackets
  • a transparent plastic basket for the light table
  • a plastic art caddy
  • nylon and wire fairy wings
  • tank top for Jack
  • 8 kids' books (used)
  • eye screw for tree swing
  • 11 puzzles (used)
  • ~6 dozen Ball jars, and storage lids, I've lost track
  • 1 beeswax wrap
  • outdoor plastic gloves
  • plastic page protectors for binders
  • 2 small Fiestaware bowls 
  • 4 presidential campaign buttons
  • foam stampers and 3 stamp pads
  • 3 laundry baskets cuz THEY GOT MORE AT MY JUNK SHOP (I never shared with you the hunt for my laundry baskets, just know it's amusing to me)
  • plastic storage drawers, 2 small, 1 less small, 1 big
  • nitrile gloves
  • several pieces of plumbing, valves, caps, etc. to do some work on the kitchen sink line
  • 1"-tall letter stencils
  • 2-lb kitchen scale (used)
  • tiny strainer (used)
  • soccer ball (used)
  • decibel meter
  • hairbrush
  • hammerdrill bits
  • safety goggles
  • I'm forgetting things I'm sure

Consumable (Excluding food & medicine)
  • clasp envelopes, large and small
  • several notebooks, large and small
  • index cards
  • markers
  • digger stickers to entertain my kid through my doctor visit cuz I got no childcare options, plus, robot stickers, letter stickers, then several MORE sheets of robot stickers, car and plane stickers, fish stickers- my kid loves stickers is what I'm saying. a lot.
  • three bags of googly eyes, to my son's sustained delight
  • pipe cleaners
  • sequins- we may have gone on a junk-store craft supply spree?
  • 4 oz argan oil
  • toothbrushes
  • a toothbrush and some floss (free from dentist)
  • quart paint
  • freezer bags, large and small
  • vinegar for cleaning
  • gallon of Dr Bronner's
  • bandages
  • postage stamps
  • TP
  • shower soothers, you should buy some

Also I ordered a new refrigerator. Weeks ago. It was on sale and I had a coupon and I hate our refrigerator and I figured we're gonna be in this house a long time, so, new fridge. But apparently it ships to the store from the factory in South Korea, so one waits a while to receive one's new fridge. It kind of ate up all the money this month. Oops. We plan to put the old one in the basement for extra freezer space and a make-do root cellar.

But now we're planning to put the new one in the basement, and take it with us when we move.

Because that might actually happen, like, this spring.

I'm burying the lede here, aren't I?

We're in the process of bidding on a lot. RIGHT NOW! And it is VERY STRESSFUL.

So also, no more buying things!! (Except maybe that eight acres of Connecticut.) Cuz if you think a refrigerator takes all the money, hoo boy, lemme tell ya.
        
Objects Out
  • Some artwork mailed to family and friends.
  • Two crappy modems mailed back to Comcast and good riddance.

Trash & Recycling
  • none

Goods Donations
  • none

Gifts
  • some artwork and cards mailed to family
  • 9 rubber rats for a Pennsylvanian cat (ok haven't shipped yet but will ship soon, Mirri!)
  • college supplies for a new college kid :D
  • part of a group wedding gift

Food


It's August. Whoa doggies. Been fermenting things, freezing things, drying things. Eating things in self defense. Busy busy busy. When we're not busy with the garden, we're busy with maybe buying an actual piece of land omg. Our poor kid is feeling a little neglected. But at least he's well-fed.

Hens laid somewhere shy of 80 eggs this month.

Been harvesting shiitake, plums, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, a single beets, turnips, watermelon, herbs, green beans, the occasional strawberry, the very last of the blueberries, and some cut flowers.

I wish I had counts of how many jars of quarts plums, kale, and tomatoes we've done, how many pounds of green beans and cucumbers we're fermented, how many bags of peppers we've put in the freezer. But I don't. These would be useful figures to have, but oh well. I'm not that put together yet. At the end of the season I'll take a count of what we have.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Spaghetti Sauce

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A pile of paste tomatoes and a handful of tasty cherry maters.
Chopped all up and the guts strained for a spell. 
Cooked in the slow cooker for a while with herbs and some sauteed veg. 
The strained juice boiled down and added back in.
Pulverized with the stick blender.
Put in jars for the freezer.
Yum.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A note on that nursling

My "weaned" child just sneak-attack nursed.

That's what I get for working naked at the kitchen table I guess.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Oh Yeah: Weaning Apple

The last time Apple nursed was some time in mid July. For a while, bedtime "nursing" was a brief and occasional affair, more of a ritual kiss than anything.

And slowly its frequency tapered off.

And now it doesn't happen at all.

And it's not even a big deal.

Last fall, it was a huge huge deal. In October, I saw returning to the routine of expensive doctor visits and hard antibiotics and the need to wean my child to fully open the doors of pharmaceutical healing to myself. So at that time I worked to limit Apple's nursing to - what? bedtime only, plus nap? I don't even remember. But it was a big deal.

It was eventually bedtime only.

And now it's not at all.

And it's not even a big deal.

And I've decided, at this time anyways, not to pursue that route of healing, besides.

When they're so little, nursing is such a big part of life together. But there's so much else, now, that saying goodbye to that part of our relationship wasn't in the least upsetting; it was actually welcome. I was ready. My boobs were ready. Apple was ready. Amazing what a couple seasons can do.

And it happened rather all by itself. I might have nudged a little. But not much.

I thought I'd mention it.

"How long do you plan to breastfeed?" the doctor asked when I brought my new homebirthed child in for his first Medicinal-Industrial Complex experience. The question floored me. Who plans that? I wondered.

I managed to respond, "As long as he needs to?"

And I guess that turned out to be about three years, three months.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I don't know what to do.

I'm sitting on a big decision. A big big fat decision I'll live with the rest of my life, every day, all day, forever. And it's my decision alone. And I don't know what to do.

I don't do well with indecision and uncertainty. Who does?

Often when I'm sitting on something like this, deep in my core I know which way I'm going to go, and it's just a matter of letting the rest of me catch up and validate that decision.

Right now, I don't have that. I don't think I have any idea what to do.

I don't know what to do.

Either way I go with this, I'm going to lose something.

I don't know what other options there will be in the future; the only sure option is the one I have right now. If I pass on it, what else will come? Something better? Nothing near as good?

I hate this.

It's not just a decision for me, it's for my whole family.

Forever!

And it comes down to me.

And I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Grateful Tuesday- Buckets

And also gratitude to my source at the co-op who hooks me up with all the food-grade plastic gallon buckets- with air-tight lids!- I could want.

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stack o' buckets, great for you to:

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water your pet livestock

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hold your wood scraps

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wash the dishes

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build sandcastles and dig big holes at the beach

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entertain your cat

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keep emergency water while doing plumbing work

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chuck your wet nasty trash into

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transport and store your garden's gifts

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hold water to cool your hammer-drill bit
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store your kitty kibble
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take your compost out
store your peanut butter! how novel!
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decorate your house! how many buckets do you see!

carry chicken snacks!
sit on one!
use it as a circle template!
carry your tools or garden things around in!
balance things between two of them for painting!
set your over-active jar of fermenting cucumbers in 'em!
cart your toy cars around!
keep your winter gloves and hats in one by the door!
wear it as a hat!

I JUST LOVE BUCKETS!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Nectarines

Funny story.

There's a small, interestingly shaped tree in our yard. Kind of smack-dab in the middle of our yard, actually. It's just north of our veggie garden. It gets beautiful blooms in the spring and is alive with bees for about a week. We've always referred to it as the Mystery Tree, because we didn't know what it was. and each summer it would get a bunch of gray, moldy, wrinkled balls on it, shriveled failed disgusting little fruits.

Not this year.

Apple and I were taking an early morning walk in the yard to cool ourselves off after a nasty exchange. (Who is capable of being nasty to a three-year-old? Well, most of us, I guess. Because we are all terrible people.) We walked past the mist-shrouded mystery tree, and:

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Fruit. Real fruit.

I felt like Eve approaching the forbidden tree or something. This tree, which for four years had produced only repulsive carcasses and which tried to take my head off when I mowed too close to it, was offering me what was clearly food. 

Who put that there!?

So I picked it. 

And I smelled it.

And I rejoiced in this change in tone of the day, because if the mist hasn't even lifted and you and your child are already at each other's throats, that's a bad start. 

Then I ate it. 

Then I fed some to my child.

And he rejoiced too.

And we kept on picking till we had a hat-full. 

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Seriously, this felt amazing. Fruit!!

That was the 29th of July. Today's August 24, and I can still smell and taste that first fruit.

When we went back into the house, I e-mailed Joe right away. 

Nectarines. It's a nectarine tree!!

We went back out the next morning, Apple and I, to see if we could recreate the miracle of fruit. And we could! While I was out there, I had cause to hurry from beneath the tree over to the garden gate, and wearing my big floppy garden hat, I couldn't see the three-inch branch between my head and my unhappy child, and then for a few minutes after that, I couldn't see or hear much of anything at all.

The nectarine tree giveth, and the nectarine tree taketh away.

But the nectarine tree mostly gaveth. For the next three weeks, the nectarines took over my life. Because that is one generous tree.

We picked 'em, and picked 'em, and picked 'em.

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We ate 'em.

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We baked 'em.

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We dried 'em.



We mashed em' and made rolls and rolls and rolls of fruit leather.

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Rolls and rolls and rolls
This is probably about half.

Which then came with us to the playground. The beach. Land for sale, far away from our newly beloved nectarine tree.

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The harvest is over now. We lost a lot of fruit to birds taking one or two pecks and leaving the rest to rot. Also some to mold. But even so, wow did we we pick some fruit. Buckets and buckets of fruit, each about five to eight pounds. And our chickens, being within throwing distance of the tree, ate very well for a month. I got to climb a tree every couple days and justify it as work. I miss climbing trees. Even overgrown fruit trees which tear my skin up with their pokey little stick nubs. In fact, that's what I grew up climbing, (crab apple trees, specifically). We had done some serious pruning of this tree not long ago, to facilitate mowing the grass under it. We wonder if this isn't related to the tree's health this year. When we weren't in the tree or dealing with the tree's gifts, we were often hanging out around the tree, especially while Joe was engaged in battle with a half-ton piece of stone right in the middle of our new potato patch.

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This photo's outdated; Joe can now stand waist-deep in this hole,
and the rock's been smashed up pretty good.

Near the end, I got more innovative for reaching the too-high-up ones. I had been knocking them down with sticks and Apple would gather them into the bucket, discerning between ones that had been bird-et or impact-exploded (which would get leathered right away) and those that were still fine and dandy (and could be eaten fresh or used later). Finally it occurred to me that I own a pretty sturdy butterfly net.

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Things My Butterfly Net Has Been Used To Catch
  • chickens
  • grasshoppers to feed to chickens
  • nectarines
Things My Butterfly Net Has Not Been Used To Catch
  • butterflies

Actually, let's back that up.

Last week, a guest gifted us with some nectarines from her nectarine tree, fruiting this summer for the first time since she planted it years earlier. I had already sliced some of our nectarines for sharing, so this amused me, but I noticed how different my friend's nectarines looked from our nectarines.

And then I ate one.

And then it hit me.

We don't have a nectarine tree.

Things My Butterfly Net Has Not Been Used To Catch
  • butterflies
  • nectarines
Things My Butterfly Net Has Been Used To Catch
  • chickens
  • grasshoppers to feed to chickens
  • plums

Funny story.