Saturday, June 28, 2014

What are the 'Lazy' Days of Summer?

There I am reading one of the newsletters that I get by e-mail and the lady who does the organizing hints newsletter (I do read it, and make notes, and if I ever find them...) was giving tips on things to do during the "Lazy days of Summer".  I don't remember a lazy summer, at least not since I was young enough not to be conscripted for chores.  (is conscripted a bad word to use?  It's not like I volunteered!) When I had kids in school they may have been lazy but I was busier than ever because they were home, and now, with the garden and all the projects around the house that are 'fair weather' jobs (as opposed to the foul weather jobs that are best done inside when it's cold) we seem to be very busy in the summer!  Our days are filled with activities that can be checked off of the master list in the evening and we sit down to supper and sigh and compare notes and discuss the next things we plan to do.  Don't get me wrong -I'm not complaining, I would rather have lots of projects than be bored, a little work never hurt anyone (although it doesn't seem to lead to weight loss either - sadly), and I really am happy with my life just makes me think.   I was raised on the 'Ant and the Grasshopper' story, western movies where the pioneers struggled to survive, that whole eat everything on your plate and be grateful - there are children in " fill in the blank" who are hungry.   In my growing up years "lazy" was a bad word, it sort of went with shiftless!  When I think of a lazy summer day my mind goes to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and the sort of weather that they have in the Southern US where the heat and humidity make it hard to even move in the middle of the day!   Maybe these days my 'lazy day' is sitting down in the afternoon with a cold glass of tea and writing on the computer?  Except I do that in the winter with a hot cup of coffee!  (the lazy days of winter?) One of the many relatively unimportant thoughts that bounce around in my head!

In the realm of being busy so as not to be thought of as lazy.....I now have two gallons of pitted cherries in my freezer!  There will be more, so I am freezing them until we are done with the tree and then I will can them all at the same time.  I do not have a cherry pitter so my fingernails and hands look hideous!  Cherry juice stains pretty good and it is a lovely reddish brown.  Maybe for Christmas this year?  Since I know there will be at least one more picking I am not doing a whole new manicure til the process is over!

Before - nothing done yet
The big project I got done this week is my kitchen cupboards. I have just put this off because I was intimidated by the job.  Once I got started I was pleased with the progress I was able to make.  I did not completely sand and re-stain them, I lightly sanded the parts that had issues like the paint drops etc. and then used a 'scratch cover oil' from 'Old English' brand.  The scratch cover oil is rubbed in and covers the sanding and blends the whole thing together. 

After - lemon oil and all

Then I lemon oiled the whole thing, let set, and lemon oil again the next day and I think they turned out pretty good.  It makes a huge difference in the look of the kitchen.  

Someday it will be a complete sand down and refinish but for now on my current budget....this is fine!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Distractions - 2 of them!

Yes those are kittens!  Hubby is a cat person and I like animals, we have had cats for all the years we have been married except for the last 3 since we moved.  Hubby has been talking about a new kitten for the last 3 years.  On Friday I got a post from my friend about free kitten Friday at the local shelter.  Hubby and I decided to "just check it out."  When we got there the free 'kittens' were the old mangy cats that looked like they might die of old age fairly soon.  But the little black and white kitty had already picked hubby (you don't pick cats, they pick you) and the little white and black one was meowing "me too, me too"  so we ended up with two kittens, fixed, shots, toys and carriers included for $60, and the pleasure of knowing they were shelter kitties so we sort of saved them, and the money goes to help more kittens and........... really we just fell for them and are justifying the deed now!!  :)
They are very smart!

And they are very polite!

So now we have a litter box in the back bathroom and cat food bowls in the corner of the kitchen, cat toys on the floor and loving little friends to talk to and play with and get distracted from chores by! 

In my own defense I did get the window outsides washed this morning, breakfast cooked and dishes washed...before I stopped to sit with the kitties who were ready for a little nap and then I couldn't move while they were sleeping.....oh my, this could be a problem!!!  :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9

May has almost been an overload of happenings here on the scant 1/2 acre!  We became grandparents for the first time, were getting ready for our trip to California to see the new celebrity (granddaughter), and getting the garden in and trying to keep the weeds out!  This link up has become one of my favorite things to do each month so please follow the link back and check out what the others have been doing as well.
Hubby's wildflower pot

Nourish - Not sure that Chocolate chip cookies and Oatmeal cookies count technically as 'nourishing' (except for the soul!)  but I made about 6 dozen cookies worth of dough to take on our trip to see the kids.  I froze it and put it in the cooler with ice for traveling. It is cooking from scratch though! (grin)They all also got their semi-annual stock up on pickles etc.

Prepare - Since we were trying to travel without going over on the monthly budget, we decided that this was a good month to look at our emergency (earthquake, snowstorm, ice storm, any reason we couldn't get to the store) food stores and rotate out the stuff that had gotten a little old or past the 'use by' dates.  This is a really important part of being prepared for life's disasters - we just usually make sure it coincides with a month that we are trying to be especially frugal!  Killing two birds so to speak

The center is the old fabric

Reduce - This month this category became re-use.  I crocheted a hat and blanket set for Miss Lily and then I also made myself a new purse.  On the hat I used a button from the huge stash of vintage buttons (some from the 30's) my late mother in law gave me, it gives the hat a vintage aspect and also
my friend did awesome embroidery work for me
something from a ggrandma this little girl will never know.  For the purse I used fabric I purchased in 1982, started a jacket and then got pregnant -  the jacket was not finished and has been laying in a pile all these years, the floral is new from Wal Mart (on sale - $1.29/yd) and the green is the oldie from the stash.  The brooch from my vintage jewelry collection.

OK it's a little large but by football season.....

Green - Nothing really new here, I have a goal of getting rid of all the commercial cleaners but it is still just a goal.

this years salsa crop :)
Grow - The garden is just exploding.  The tomatoes have already started looking kind of rainforest-y (?) The black beans have come up but not the greens - go figure.  The corn is about a foot tall already and I will see how this goes growing it in 2 ft squares. I also managed to take 4 bundles of herbs (mint, lemon balm, oregano and thyme) to my son the guy who will try anything and loves cooking organic and whole foods, I must admit that it is a cool thing to take something for him and have him be so excited.

Create - Someday I will develop the knack of doing things ahead of time! (not!) I spent May finishing up all the projects I had going for Miss Lily for months!  I did make a really cute pair of 'gladiator' sandals to go with the hat and blanket and I think they came out really well.  It was my first attempt to make something I had in my head without a pattern and I am pleased with the result. 
These were so cute I almost pinched them

Discover - This month my new YouTube addiction moved me on to "Terry Jones - Medieval lives".  If the name sounds familiar he was one of the Monty Python troupe and a historian.  This series then is real history with a humorous side, it was fascinating!

Enhance - So... I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was going to start another blog for my family history and the stories that I had found, and I did that.  I had not even gotten around to telling family members (the only ones I thought would be interested) and I already have 3 followers and have been featured as a new genealogy blog on two sites that highlight new blogs once a month!  I'm pretty sure that Pulitzer prize is not that much nearer my grasp, but I am a happy camper anyway!

Stained glass window in the mirror in the dining room
Enjoy -  The girls and I went to the 'Morrison House' auction walk through, we got to see all the stuff Velma Morrison had in her mansion that was going on sale including a 6 carat diamond ring.  (Her husband was the builder on things like the Hoover Dam and the Oakland Bay bridge.)  Fun day (we included the Chinese buffet!) and interesting history.  We all also commented on the fact that no matter how wealthy and fancy your life, when you die there are strangers going through your stuff and making comments - we were very motivated to keep down the clutter in our own homes when we got done!

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 link up - Grab my button! Remember to check out all the other blogs in this link up

Monday, June 2, 2014


Hubby and Friend Butch went fishing, no it's not the start of a funny story, they went fishing to a place Butch (native, born and bred here guy) had been before and he told Hubby that they would look while they were there and see if they could find any mushrooms.  He said they were Morels.   I got very excited because I love these things but have only had them and found them in Missouri out in the timber.  They are an ugly mushroom but so good.

Well they didn't catch any fish but they did find mushrooms.  This is what they looked like after soaking in salt water for a short time to get the critters to crawl out, and then I cut them in half, dredged with flour and fried in hot oil.  Gosh they were good!

Sorry for the blurry photo.  Some people used to call them dishrag mushrooms because of the texture of the cap and those old waffle weave dishrags!                                

I think I may have the best friends in the world!  I showed up to a salad pot luck to end our Bible study season  and start the summer break and they were all there for a surprise party - for me! - they called it a 'Grandma Shower' and said it was gifts for grandma to have at her house or give to the new baby or enjoy!  We played games and everything and it was lovely,  it even included those peonies in the vase. (they smell more like roses than roses do!)   What a lovely thoughtful thing to do, we have most of this bagged up and ready to take with us on our trip to see the new little Miss Lily. 

We are so excited to see her and of course the kids. (as if)  I distinctly remember my parents asking if I was bringing the kids over soon, and I used to tease them - "can I come with the kids?" - my dad said "sure but don't come without them!"  Getting all packed and ready to go, we have a friend who will house sit while we are gone so we don't have to worry about the garden.  Can't wait!