Monthly Archives: January 2017

Stuff Purging

Going through some of the things from the attic. My concrete and measurable goal there and the other “dump” room is to walk, unimpeded from the door to the far wall. In both places, the space is filled with boxes and loose stuff.

Today was dump day, but I was busy, so tomorrow a.m. I should have a slug o’ books (and maybe other things) to go to the swap shop.

I think I might want to reinstate counting the things out, but I don’t really. If I did, I’d just make a “thermometer” for a month’s worth the year and fill it as I purged. 2017 pieces out should be easy to do. That’s only 169 a month! Maybe I will start again?

Right now I’ve got 12 or more books on my desk to review for the swap shop. Given that it’s the 28th and I have my first tax appt. next week, I don’t have a lot of time to be purging, instead doing the tax data round-up. Also I tutor and have other commitments. So, it’s unlikely I can get rid of 169 items by 1/31/17. However, 338 (169 x 2) by the end of Feb.? Now that’s possible.

We’ll see!

7 books out, 2 new books in= 5 out 8 books out, 2 new books in = 6 out

(I sold a few things this weekend too! Later.)

I started a list on the tally page, so I won’t clutter up posts here. If you’re intersted, go there!

Planned Visit

Going back to a town I wrote about, 3 years ago, haven’t been up there since. From what I can tell, the town’s economy is faltering, again. This seems to happen in this town every 3-5 years. Discouraging!

On the other hand, there was (still is) a good used bookstore and a few great clothing consignment shops and antique stores. Unfortunately, my favorite consignment shop seems to be gone, as well as my fave antique shop, alas. But, there are other good ones, and they’re still there. Also gone (from what I can tell) is the crafters’ consignment shop. [I wondered at the time if it was a viable biz model.] We’ll see! Two of us are going to the spice shop, and maybe one of the consignment shops, maybe.

I thought it was 2015 when I was there, but it was 2014.

If the cafe is just as good, then everything is just fine!

What do you look for when you go to a new town? What do you miss when you go back to someplace you knew a few years back? I’m curious!

J

Lapfull of Warm v3.0

(and the last one — promise!)

DH wanted me to recreate a shorter version of the original muffler, for him. I did. It’s finished, except I have to weave in the 2 ends.

This time I’ve been watching Hart to Hart. All those TV shows in the 80s I missed because I worked until Gawd knows what hours? I’m up late, knitting in front of my computer. Works!

Interesting catching up with my youth, now. Certainly not a 2nd childhood, but regressing to some extent, you bet. (Also enjoying myself!)

No more planned knitting right now. The rug I’m working on requires too much concentration for me to do it and anything else.

I keep hoping I’ll have a dream or something and remember the stupid trauma, so I can absolutely, finally put it to rest. In the meantime,  if I knit you something, realize it probably meant not only did I spend a long time on it, but I burned a lot of midnight oil doing it as well!

J

 

 

When Does Stubborn Cross the Line into Stupid?

I just quit a site where I have previously been quite active. Why? Because there was no one, apparently there. Talking to anyone in the company was like shooting bullets into the San Francisco Bay during an opaque pea-soup fog. You have no idea if there’s anything or anyone to hit, if you killed a person, hit the bridge or a bird,  or having hit nothing, the bullet lies, spent, on the sea floor.

It was more than that, but that was the root of the problem. There was no way to affect change, know if you had, know the effects of what you did or said.

It feels quite a bit like my first marriage. I’m stubborn, but I finally gave up on that. The store too.

I’ve always been stubborn (I was supposed to die at birth, fooled ‘ya!) and this question of when do you finally draw a line and say “I’ve had it!” keeps popping up. How long do you have to hang on to a relationship, job, business, behavior, habit, or (fill in the blank) before you just give up? I’ve never had a criteria. The only thing I know is that when dealing with whatever is almost always accompanied by quantities of stomach acid, it’s probably time to go. Even then I hesitate. Even then I usually hang on for some time.

I really don’t have an answer for this question. I wish I had a yardstick of some kind. What do you do?

J

Menu Planning That Isn’t

I discovered that one of my war-time books has a chart with how much food should be used, how often, and what that corresponds to for stored foods (canned, brined, frozen or dried).

Yes, I know the nutritional amounts are likely off, but the last information I found like this was how many row feet of each veggie you needed to grow, per person, per year.

That’s great, if you grow most of your food,  in feet rows; I don’t. I have a few garden beds and get food from markets and a CSA. Also, I don’t regularly buy things like 25 lb bags of wheat berries from Honeyville or other such suppliers.

What I had/could find made it hard to have any idea how much food I’d need to store. Do I have room? Do I really want to do this? (Probably not.) But it was an impossible question to answer before I found this chart.

I believe in the pantry principal, as a money saver, and have for years. (See Barbara Salsbury’s Cut Your Grocery Bills in Half.) But again, how much is sane? What is ridiculous? Where will it just be too much and wasted?

I’ve been working on it. The CSA runs 6 months a year. The plan has always been to not only use the fresh stuff while it runs, but set aside enough to use the rest of the year. Otherwise, it isn’t worth it as it increases our food budget 25% for the year. But if we can buy less during the other 6 months, then it means that I suddenly can afford to feed us organic, fresh or home-preserved food.

I haven’t managed this yet. Two reasons: year one I had no idea how much food I was going to get. Last year (year two) our fridge broke then worked then broke — and we tossed a huge amount of produce accordingly.

But now I know what I SHOULD have!

On the “I’m trying to empty the pantry and freezer by June 30” quest. . . I had one large loin pork chop in the freezer. We had it baked over sweet potatoes, onion, a small amount of raisins, and water. I made gravy from the drippings. Turned out exactly the way I planned, yummy. Today we ate the other 1/2 of this, I diluted the gravy for stock, added some more Better Than Bullion (chicken), chopped the meat added some thyme and made cornbread of a sort. Great lunch. One $3 piece of meat, 4 meals. (It was on sale.)

Not only did I use the pork chop from the freezer, but sweet potatoes and onion from the pantry as well as raisins, BTB, thyme and the fixin’s for cornbread. No recipe for the entrees, no preplanning, just the seat of my pants. I did use a recipe for the bread.

Tonight we should do meatless, but I have a partially picked chicken in the fridge to deal with . . . we’ll see!

One of my other discoveries from the WWII booklet is that I probably should feed us more elaborate meals, I usually do 2  items a veg and entree, sometimes salad. When you’re trying to stretch things the plate gets a bit empty sometimes, more items would help that and also with the empty the stores project too.

Frugality, New Ways

I’ve been working hard at wasting less food. Also been working at frugality. We needed oranges (used every day) and bought organic ones. I made marmalade again this morning. Five small oranges + 2.5C water +2C sugar+ time/energy = 2 ten oz jelly jars of marmalade. This will last 2-4 weeks. [Why oranges instead of orange juice, frozen or otherwise?  (Would probably be even cheaper!) Fresh-squeezed oranges have compounds which in a study seemed to stave off cancer. Family history of cancer, so, fresh oranges, not bottled, boxed, or frozen OJ.]

I can buy jams/jellies at the local discount/big box type store for $2-$3, not organic. But that doesn’t use the peels from the oranges I buy anyway. If I don’t have the inclination to make marmalade when we’re juicing oranges, I freeze the shells, then chop them and make marmalade, or chop them first — whatever. I’m not using extra resources until I make the marmalade and that’s water, sugar and power to heat the water (for the jars/lids) and cook the fruit. Can be made with complete oranges (less seeds and stem end) or just what remains after juicing, both work.

Lately, I’ve been trying to reduce our trash. For several reasons. Having to go to the dump less frequently is better for our budget, our cars and the environment. Less stuff to store and then discard. The paper shreds being burned in the woodstove are part of this.

I’ve been lotting up things for the antique store, almost everything in the lot is < $1 so if the lot is 6 items, it’s $5, for example. I hope this works because I’d really like to move the various items. But if it doesn’t work, I have a plan B.

A semi-local auction house has box lot sales once a week. Wooden crates almost always go for a fair amount in the box lot sales and I have 5 crates for sale at a friend’s shop. I could take the crates back and put in the unsold lot merchandise and sell both the crates and stuff, for perhaps more than I could otherwise. Hopefully I won’t have to retrieve the crates at all and I sell the lots. But if not. . . I have a plan!

Our old dining table is for sale at the antique store where I have a booth. Someone there offered to take it to the 2nd shop where he works and thinks it will sell there. I told him this week if that doesn’t work I’ll take it back. (And crate/ship it to the relative who wanted it if it didn’t sell.) Sold!

My car is going to the shop for critical repairs. After that, I can drive things around, as needed, but not now. Right now, I’m housebound or have to borrow DH’s car.

Bread is freshly baked and filling the house with wonderful smells. A winter pleasure is warm bread with HM marmalade or jam. Yum!

Found a simple recipe for vanilla ice cream. Not as complicated or extensive as the recipe I have used before. (I make fresh strawberry ice cream in summer.)  DH loves ice cream, year ’round. I will try the new recipe when he’s eaten up what we have. If he likes the new ice cream? I’ll make it for him, if the ingredients cost less than the market product.

For a time, I was making granola for us. Then I figured the cost was about equal to buying it, around $10/lb. So I only make it on occasion (I like mine better than commercial stuff.) and I gave up the idea that I could save money making granola.

The same yardstick applies to the ice cream. If it isn’t actually cheaper, I’m not going to do it routinely. If it is? Of course I will!

The difference between the ice cream/granola and marmalade is simple. The marmalade makes use of food we’re getting anyway AND DISCARDING! The granola and/or ice cream is replacing something we buy (sometimes in the case of granola) with home-made.

 

 

To Do List: 1/11/17

  • Living Room: caulk & trim paint, as needed. Furniture is being replaced without a plan. Decide about coffee tables. Sell unused table. Add wall art. Bring down round coffee table. Maybe? Black & white rug: Finish up fabric strips.

to do list 1

Long Term: Trim piece against kitchen wall, window trim, stair rail. Replace interior trim on double window. Mod baseboards. Caulk/paint floor/baseboards. Move kitchen door? Replacement ladders for blinds. (http://www.fixmyblinds.com) Buy material, shorten blinds. (Buy a used blind to learn how.) Blue plaid project. Blanket project.

  • Hall: Replace smoke detector (future). Add corner detail on doors (future), caulk & touch up as needed. Sell the records, replace the cubes with the black table currently in living room.
  • Kitchen: Make plan without the Hoosiers and dismantle too-large counter. Install shelves where window used to be. Sell Hoosiers. (First one up for sale 12/10) Remove crates from counter. 1 of 3 removed 1/11/17 Finish new window/shelf. Final paint on sidelight, new shelf. Find new homes for the pieces stored in the crates  — sell/donate or discard.
  • Dining: Remove crib rail? Candlebra? Reuse the hanging baskets and/or rail elsewhere. Rehang cabinet. Paint drawer units? Paint china cabinet.
  • Laundry: (longterm) Get switch thing set up. Storage bins.
  • Attic:Decide what to sell. Get bookcases upstairs and bays built.
  • Office 1:Clear/clean counter & take it upstairs. Remove everything from bookcases move them.  Get sewing machine legs detached from base. Recycle, reuse, or dump. Put dresser in office. Stack on top of it (same size, and small) the 2nd dresser, currently in the storage. Red rug?
  • Entry: Caulk and trim paint, as needed.
  • Pantry: Add trim and final paint.

Cull/Clean (general): Take old window bits to dump or store elsewhere. Put window trim in woodshed. Take stuff for sale to antique store or to storage so that it isn’t cluttering up the living room! Clothes & cloth need a serious culling! Started 12/15.

  • Bathroom: Clean corners, window. Caulk as needed. Repaint room. Match trim to the rest of the house. If new gallon is enamel paint and not flat, paint bathroom? Replace floor and sink and required wall upgrade.
  • Bedroom: (Cull/Clean) Get tapestry on stretchers. Quilt rehab. New: Start making pattern to reupholster chair.
  • Attic: Get the remaining  base cabinet from kitchen, after fridge rehab. Move the bookcases. Build bays.

Storage: Remove the 2nd Hoosier. (Base is in my  car, top piece also needs to be moved from the storage.) Move to smaller unit. Get the 2nd dresser home and bookcase donated/sold.

Get the windows done. SR door panel 27.5 x 64,

Get the online and computer files cleaned out. (Drafts here = 40 11/30 43 10/11, “Tally” page information (tab, this blog) moved to history 9/17.) Unsubscribed from 5 mailing lists. 11/30.

Wood stacking: 1 2 3 4

Writing:

  • Memoir retype effort: 62.5% complete (I’m amused that I seem to do this in 3% chunks. I’m not counting or anything, it’s just that the sections are short, and it’s difficult emotionally, especially the first 3rd, so I’ve been doing it until I felt like quitting, then I let myself stop.)
  • 3 stories into novel:  Worked a little on one of the stories, call it 07% 9/20
  • kitchen book: nothing new
  • possible future editing jobs: no good news

Other:

  • All-In-One Organizer: clean up & print
  • Make stickers/stamps
  • Books out, boxes?
  • Canister labels designed. Most supplies procured. Still to do: print labels and use! Various technical issues which need to be resolved:
    • My wordprocessor doesn’t have the right label template.
    • Avery doesn’t let you do a merge for their online template designer, etc.
    • Order the correct magnets. Make tutorial.
    • The simple answer would be to cover the labels with scrapbooking or other paper and print some clear labels to go over them. I may do that, or may not. My last step was always going to be putting clear shelf liner over the label to make it waterproof.

Most of the label issues have been resolved, mostly. Still a wrinkle or two before I make a tutorial!