Category Archives: Making Home

Today

DH is working on upgrading the electrical system on his motorcycle. He helped me with some of the leaf moving (rake, then relocate). Later today, we’re off to the storage to work on that.

There are probably more books here ready to be gotten rid of. I gave one  to a neighbor. Have another to ask a second neighbor about and the yard is tidier than it was. All good.

The fertilizer I used up (we’d had it for 2 years, why?) was rained on for the next two days. A lot of it went into the bulb beds, and the daffs. and other bulbs are shooting up green sprouts all over the place. Partly because it’s time, but partly because they got fertilized just as they were starting their spring push. The rain was a blessing for them.

So we need to buy more mulch for the bulb bed to keep out the weeds (grass), but the bulbs should spread out quite a bit this year because of the timely fertilizer and rain.

I’ve been working on the spring/summer food/garden plans,  Between the farm we belong to and the garden I grow (sometimes, didn’t last year) we are usually drowning in green stuff by June. I want a better plan for what comes in/when and what I intend to do with it this year! I’m about 25% done with this piece. Finished the initial data gather yesterday. Pulling it together.  There are 2 or so more data gathering steps before I can make an actual plan, but it should get there.

Off to the storage — ho!!!!

J

We took a file box full of books and a few besides to the market which has the book bin. Gone! I have gone through one box since we got home and have started the 2nd. There’s about 10 more books in a bag to be donated, wherever it is we go next that will take them.

Crunch Time

We’ve pared down the stuff and space and stuff, and space. . . .

And now? We have too little space for what’s left. I have a bag of books to go out hanging on the front door knob. I have 4 boxes of books to go through before I leave here today, with the idea that I remove whatever other bags of books that generates.

Also today I’m supposed to finish up the move from the old storage unit to the new, smaller one. And it’s going to be tight, sigh.

boxes

Crunch time indeed.

Unexpected

I have Desha Peacock’s decorating book. I just missed seeing her at a bookstore event. Found out about it the week following. Anyway, I was intrigued and I bought the book: Create the Style You Crave on a Budget You Can Afford.

Off and on I’ve dipped into it. Most of it seems to be articles about hip bloggers, which doesn’t interest me much. I don’t care about their blogs, their lives or how popular they are. Many of them, because they are on average 20-30 years younger than I am, are talking about things I already know to save money: the dump’s swap shop, upcycle, antique stores, flea markets, swap, etc. I do all that and have. So, a half a dozen times I’ve resolved to get rid of the book, donate or sell it.

I’d gotten there this morning, again, and found one of her “quizzes” which are supposed to help you figure out your “sweet spot.” I write in books I buy for information, and had various notes in this one about colors, but nothing else. But today? Today I wrote this about a “mood board” (I’ve never managed to make a mood board, or creative board, or whatever work. I’ve tried!)

“Seriously? Decide to feel a certain way and you make that in a room?

HAH!

Fat chance!!!

Part of this was “Ask yourself these questions:. . . (My pencilled notes are in boldface.)

How do I want to feel in this room? How do I want my family to feel and others who visit?” My comment here was: How the F do I know? Never thought I could control how I feel in a room. Rooms victimize you.

“What colors would I like to see in this room? How much of this color or colors can I envisage?” No envisaging. NO visualization. None. Forget it!

I feel a little like I did when I discovered I’d been traumatized by knitting. My lack of visualization was deliberate, once. I decided I had to do that because thinking in pictures yanked me around emotionally, and my emotions made me crazy.

Of course, that was almost 40 years ago, but I’ve discovered that flipping the switch I did, from thinking in pictures to thinking in words isn’t easy to do, or to undo.

desha peacock book

I’m not sure how to fix this. I like our new living room, mostly. I learned a lot doing it. But other than having an idea about how I want to combine colors in the house, spending as little as possible, and getting DH’s overall approval, I have no idea about what to do or how. I only know the next piece usually, if that.

The living room’s paint needs touch up and to be cleaned up in some areas. I want to take a strip out of one room to make a hallway, so I have a wall with a large bookcase. Aside from that? I have no next steps.

The back roof has to happen this year no matter what, and much of the available money will go to that. After that? I have no idea.

It annoys me that this is seemingly so simple for some people and so difficult for me. I know why I did what I did. It was necessary, when I was 20, but it isn’t necessary now and it makes my life difficult in all sorts of ways.

I can’t write fiction. I can’t plan craft projects without doing a “sketch” because when I imagine a finished project, it never turns out that way, etc. Not being able to imagine what something might look like is a total PITA!

Zero Waste?

We have always recycled. That is for nearly 40 years now. Before you get on me about recycling and its virtues: in college my husband (then roommate) and I recycled our glass bottles at our college’s glass blowing program, had the local boy scouts cued in that whenever they had a paper drive we’d contribute, etc. Later we drove to the base recycling, because it was the only one available to us, it wasn’t the town’s dump. So, okay? I believe in recycling and have always practiced it, for for 39+ years now.

So, zero waste as a concept isn’t new to me. The “movement” I see is new. I agree with it, but I think the ludicrous “posts” I see of a family of 4 having only a quart jar of waste a year to be a cheat. Why? Because if you read these blogs, etc. a lot of what you see is what you’d expect: use vinegar, home-made cleaners, permanent cleaning tools rather than paper towels, etc. But you also see things like the cheat (well, I consider it a cheat) I found which turned me off of all such blogs.

The cheat? The person bought a pair of shoes and left the shoe box with the store. That ISN’T zero waste, it’s just being nasty, giving someone else your garbage. You might just as easily take all your other waste in a plastic bag and stuff it in a municipal trash can.

recycling process

Yes, there are things you can do to lower your waste. You can deliberately find a use for something you might otherwise discard. You can buy big packages of supplies (food and otherwise) and make smaller, more convenient collections of those things yourself (preferably in something other than disposable bags). You can use rags instead of paper towels. You can not buy things with pieces which are trashed every time they’re used. You can pay attention to what you buy and what winds up in the trash. How many bags of garbage does your household generate? Can you do better? (We use 1 a week, plus recycling.)

You can also save money and avoid a huge amount of waste if you just use more of your food. Or learn how to cook, right? Prefab food generates container and packaging you don’t have if you cook yourself. Think about it: when I buy a package of ground meat at my local green market, it’s wrapped in 2 pieces of paper. [I admit, if I’d remembered, I could take a lidded, freezer-safe container with me and use that. I didn’t last time, hopefully I will next time.] Anyway, because we make our own bread, the packaging for us to get hamburgers on the table is the wrapping around the meat. Everything else comes in a big package (like a head of lettuce or bottle of catsup) and is used multiple times. Contrast that with the paper napkins, wrappers, receipt, salt, pepper, catsup packets and bag which make up a bag of 2 hamburgers from your local Mac’s. Is it cheaper? No. Is it faster? Well, my local Mac’s is 25+ minutes away, so yes it is.

food waste

But don’t tell me you’re zero waste and go to a store, buy a pair of shoes and leave the packaging. Get your shoes repaired rather than buying a new pair. Buy a used pair? Donate TWO pairs to a charity when you buy that new pair? Try making it a policy to have minimal shoes. For me that’s 5 pairs: daily shoes, snow boots, fancy shoes, sandals, house shoes. My fancy shoes, if I have them, (I don’t at the moment.) are usually either solid white or black. My daily shoes are shoes I wear when I’m going out, they tend to be walking shoes. The house shoes are slippers or slip ons I use in the house, sometimes I use socks. Honestly? If I wasn’t in a snowy climate, I could manage without the boots and could use the sandals as house shoes and for the fancy shoes too, I have previously. That would leave me with daily shoes and sandals.

For restaurant take out, you can do what a friend of mine has done for decades: put a picnic basket in your car with real plates, cloth napkins, food containers, etc. in it and ask the restaurant to package your food that way. Some fast foods may not be able to cope with that, but some can. Pay attention, do what you can, and keep looking for new ways to lower your impact on the world.

I’m not zero waste, but I admit what I do and don’t foist my garbage off on others as if that somehow makes it “vanish.” It doesn’t. The idea that the things we discard don’t count or will vanish is a lot of the reason we got where we are. So, don’t tell me you’re zero waste and foist your garbage off on someone else. If it comes with the goods you buy, it’s yours. Deal (and be honest).

To Do List 3/20

to do list 1

Today’s list is complicated by the fact that my back started to go into spasm this morning. My tax appt. is tomorrow, so the tax info gather HAS to be finished today. I’ve had a hot shower, hot milk, and Motrin. When/if the Motrin kicks in, I should be about normal, I hope. I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to ignore my body when it starts to have issues, I need to deal with them now. It’s the only hope I’ve got for not having a full-blown problem. Like dealing with the PTSD or anything else, it seems adulthood/maturity is learning how to forestall the negative as much as possible and increase the positive!

Keep using pantry goods. Empty the freezer before June 1. Should be as empty as is practical to make it!

Box up the rest of the stuff for the flea market in April

Finish getting the tax info to the tax person before the appt.

Get at least one piece of one item off of the long-term list!

Empty the old coffee table full o’ stuff in the hallway. The things which were stored near the black strap table now are adrift, etc. MORE to do!!!

With the flea market money (I hope) get the organizer pages to the graphic artist for an estimate.

More Minimalism, Sort Of. . .

I found another one of those lists. On this list that I do buy: drinks from Starbucks (when we’re there, it’s an hour away), usually I get them free with stars. I do buy newspapers, on Sunday. It tells us about events happening around our rural area and we like the comics and articles. (And, yes, we’ve been known to start the wood stove with them or use them for shipping materials as well.)

No “as sold on TV” things, well that one’s pretty easy. We haven’t had a TV in > 10 years. Books? Well, yes, I do still buy books. I am who I am after all.

I think our minimalism is more like, cut it down until you don’t have excessive extras. I cleaned out an area earlier this week and found a stapler. Fine. Took it up to the office, where staplers should live, right? We had 2 there already. I couldn’t find one when I wanted it and hauled the one from the kitchen to the office. Then I located the office’s designated stapler. And yesterday, the other. So. . .for the moment there is an office stapler and a stapler on my desk.  The kitchen stapler went back to the kitchen. If/when I move to the other office again (this summer hopefully?) I’ll take the 2nd office stapler with me. Two offices, two staplers. We use the one in the kitchen to seal herbs in brown paper bags in summer to dry them, amongst other things.

Do I really need 3 staplers? No. But it’s convenient. Until it stops being so, I’ll keep them. I could get by with just one, DH hardly uses them at all, but it’s always on the wrong floor, or in the wrong room. (I tried that.)

Other things I’m going to do which are not minimalist. I’m going to make 24 monthly envelopes from fabric for the current and past years’ accounting papers. Why? Because at the moment I’m using manila envelopes, and they’re all over the place as I’m doing the 2016 taxes.

manila envie

I’m tired of opening up the envelopes to find this or that, then closing them, then shuffling thru the stacks of manila envelopes trying to find the RIGHT one. Not now, not til after the taxes are done, but then I’m going to make 2 matching expanding envelopes for each month. I will no longer have to have 24+ envelopes for the 2 years’ worth of data. Three year old data can be filed in the filing cabinet.

If I were really going minimalist, I’d close the business. That won’t happen until the storage is empty and I’ve culled, sold, or whatever the excess stuff. And maybe not then? I’ve been selling things a long time now. Wonder what I’d do otherwise?

 

What I Did, Yesterday

My long-term to do list contains this:

Hall: Replace smoke detector and add corner detail on doors (future). Sell the records, replace the cubes with the black table.

What I did was move the cubes and replace them with the black table. It looks great, enables pulling back the chairs from the hearth (so it doesn’t feel so cramped). I also used the library catalog as an additional end table between the club chairs. If/when I get the cubes out of the kitchen (and into the attic or sold) and the rest of the displaced stuff dealt with, this works much better.

In that sense, it’s like the coffee table switch I did last week. The new long, skinny, slatted coffee table is a much better fit for the area than what we had. But the old table is filling about 1/2 of the hallway and needs to be moved, rather desperately!

So, the next piece of the great furniture shuffle is to find a place to stash the coffee table and the cubes, pending getting rid of them, selling them, or whatever.