Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cheap and Green!

A whole month after my last post, I get to start the seeds I bought! Today I started the first half of my spring garden. My tomato seeds have not arrived yet, but I have another two weeks or so before I need to get those going. I have recycled all of my starting trays this year. I have herbs in tin cans, lettuce in milk jugs, and broccoli and peppers in egg cartons. I am hoping to build most of my garden out of recycled goods this year. We are saving all sorts of containers, all the way from yogurt cups to 5 gallon water jugs. The jugs are perfect for tomatoes and peppers when you cut the top off!

As far as my beds go, if I can find untreated shipping pallets, I am hoping to disassemble some to make my raised beds. I am also going to stand one up, wrap the back in landscaping fabric, and use it as a strawberry tower. The landscaping fabric was left behind by the previous renters, so I am not out any money there. The trellises for my vine-y veggies will be made out of sticks from the front yard and a ball of twine, and chicken wire I found with the landscaping fabric. I am hang tomatoes and peppers from older cloth shopping bags, and I am planting greens and herbs in #10 cans.

My biggest expense was going to be soil, but I found a solution for that as well! The city makes compost across town, and they sell it for $9 for a TRUCKLOAD. Yes, you have to haul it yourself, but that does not scare me!

Now I just have to figure out how to make an arbor on the cheap so I can squeeze in one more type of bean, and I will be all set!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jumping the Gun.... Again!

I did it. I know I shouldn't have, that it is way too early, but I did it.

I bought seeds.

I didn't buy a lot, and I only bought those that I knew would go in the early spring planting. I didn't even buy all the ones I needed. But I had to get started a little bit! I know the ground is frozen. I know Papa Bear still has to take a jack hammer to the patio concrete before we can even install the beds. I know they will not be planted for another month, but I had to buy seeds! This way, I get to buy a few seeds a little at a time, and spread out the joy of it! I got broccoli, cabbage, and peas. That's it. I need a lot more, but I have my fix for now.

I feel better. And I can't wait for fresh broccoli!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Attack of the Cooking Bug!

3 days after moving into a new place id probably too soon to be doing major experiments in the kitchen, since there is so much elsewhere to get done. I need to do some major unpacking, install the shelves, and catch up on laundry. But, instead, I am itching to try something new! I have a huge pork butt in my freezer, and a new meat grinder that has sat waiting and calling my name for a month now. I cannot resist the call any longer, and I have a dozen different recipes for ground pork bouncing around in my head!

No, I do not quite have the kitchen set up yet, and the table is currently being used as storage for miscellaneous boxes, but I can figure it out, right? It's only 13 lbs of half frozen on the bone meat that must be ground, stored, and cooked with three cubs to watch and Papa Bear at school. Or is that three cubs getting into things and no adult to help when they tear open the unpacked box of their choice and begin dismantling breakable things while  I am stuck in the kitchen with meat covered hands and a dog just waiting for me to look the other way?

No matter! I can't fight the bug any longer, I must make pork patties!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

On Our Way

The big move has finally come, after a month of anxious waiting and planning and dreaming. Now the real work begins.

Its is day two of our mid-winter move, and we are behind because the powers that be took much longer than we anticipated to get the place ready. But we managed to keep our promise to the kids, and the first night at the new house was indeed a CandyLand pizza party on the floor.

I look around the rented town home, and even though the kitchen, and the linen closet, and the backyard are far too small, and there are repairs and changes that have to be made, I feel a little more whole again. Something was missing that has returned. This is a first step to the goals that I have for my family, and we are going to make the most of it. Finishing the wall in the basement gives us more space for the kids, and compromising with the property manager gives us more green space to garden.

We are out of apartments, and taking the first step to the rest of our lives. It's a good way to start the new year, full of new changes and challenges. 2012 will be our year!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Right Path

It takes quite a bit of self-exploration and security to really find the right path for yourself and your family. And there are always people in your life who are going to try and tell you they know what is best for you, usually in a less than pleasant manner. In my experience, courage is neseccary to tell those people, truly and surely, that only you know what will make you really happy. You have to be brash sometimes, and a lot of folks are just not ballsy enough to do it.

The decisions I have for my family have taken a long time, and sometimes they change. The needs of myself and my cubs are always shifting, and going with the flow can be difficult. I trust my husband to hang on and manage with us in the hard times, and it makes everything easier to know that he can take care of himself. Not because I WANT him to take care of himself, or even that he does. But because I know that when I need to focus on myself, on the kids, on the house, or anything else, my husband is secure and capable enough to handle his own needs. I will handle our house without losing sleep over my husband's needs on top of everything else, because he will make them known and fulfill them himself if I cannot.

There is one sure way for me to know that we are all on the right track. I posted a few weeks back about the quiet contentment of motherhood, and that is my sign. When at any given moment I can sit back and that feeling takes over, that is when I know we have jumped a hurtle and landed on our feet. We are on the path that the Norns created for us, and our happiness is all that I need to prove it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Postman Came.....

And delivered an eased mind!

When I have a project that needs to be done, I need to be able to research it. I need to be able to think, plan, manipulate the information regarding it in the time before I am actually allowed to start it. If I can't do that, then I get anxious, stressed, and just plain unhappy. This is a very recent discovery, and since realizing this about myself life has become much smoother. When I start to get anxious about something, I fire up the internet, or yank out a book, or take a quick trip out and immerse myself in the subject. This reassures me in my knowledge and grasp of the situation, and I can breathe again.

I was about to have a panic attack earlier because, unlike other passions such as canning and gardening, I do not have a very solid network of homeschooling information yet. My brain was starting to question and yearn, and I had no place to go to in order to ground those thoughts. Thank goodness I checked the mail when I did and found such a wonderful book waiting for me!! Linda Dobson's The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child came in, and even though I have yet to finish the second chapter, I nearly wept in relief. I admit I was starting to panic and second guess my ability to do this, but to know I am not alone in those feelings is a huge weight off my shoulders! This book is a blessing, for sure!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

She's My Little Mirror in Time

As time goes on, I find that my oldest daughter is more and more like me. She is headstrong, clever, a little absentminded. She feels the need to please, and it devastates her to disappoint. It is astonishing how much of myself I see in her. I can look in her eyes and remember just how I felt when I was her age. And I remember how frustrating it was for my parents to get me to do the things I struggle to get my daughter to do. Homework. Chores. I knew, right down to my core, that I should be doing those things, and I wanted to make my parents proud, but something made it hard. There was always something new, something that had to be explored. I had to be delving into a new subject all the time. There was just so much to see! How can you focus on the mundane when there are so many other things to be learned?

I see that drive to explore in my daughter. Always asking questions, the need to understand a situation entirely before stepping in. When we are getting ready to go to the store she asks, "Why? Where are we going?" She is not trying to be impertinent, she just wants to KNOW! That way she knows what kind of shoes she needs, what kind of outfit, should she wear a coat. And all of that needs to be double checked so she knows she got it right! As the parent, it's exhausting, but from the child's point of view its totally understandable. I can see the wheels in her head turning and I can understand the path of her thoughts, and the reasons behind her strange actions. She gets into trouble because she is BORED! It's not her being malicious, but she forgets rules in her quest to exercise her mind. I remember having the same experience.

Unfortunately it is making traditional school difficult for her. She is stuck in a room all day following a path of learning laid before her. She does not have the freedom to ask the things she needs to ask, to follow the string of questions in her head, to explore the world in a way that is not outrageously boring. Once she has a grasp on a situation, she is quick as a whip and can master it in a heartbeat, but she needs to be able to reach out and take the grasp by herself and at her own pace. That might take far longer than necessary in a school setting, and so far, it does, because she does not have control over her learning. She WANTS to reach out and tackle it, but instead she is told to sit and have it fed to her. And it is boring her. Boring her to the point of acting up, and losing the drive to learn. And I know this, because I REMEMBER.

Homeschooling her is going to be a trying, tiring job until we get the hang of it. Daily library trips, Internet searches, and spur-of-the-moment lessons because she got a hair up her butt and suddenly has a million questions about platypus. But, oh, Gods, doesn't that sound like a blast!