Category Archives: old fashioned housewifery

Productive Monday Morning

I haven’t made up my 6 list today. But here’s what I’ve done this morning:

  1. Washed dishes
  2. Washed rags
  3. Swept the hearth, entry, living room, and hall.
  4. Polished the fire screen.
  5. Depilled my muffler. (wonderfully soft/fuzzy, wants to pill!)
  6. “Mopped” the hearth. (Spray bottle and rag on my knees, no mop.)
  7. Gotten down a block of soap to be cut into bars.
  8. Went through a stack of mail, cull/shred/file.

It’s 10:15 a.m., I think this counts!!!

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Herbal Zero Waste

I grow herbs and spices here: parsley, sage, mint, oregano, chives, etc. I dry some every year. I do this because if you look at the price per lb. of spices at your local market, you’ll discover that they are among the most expensive, if not THE most expensive foods by weight.

The way I dry them is mostly in lunch bags, plain old brown paper lunch bags. I write on the bottom: the herb, date, and source. (The CSA grows herbs/spices too!) and hang them with rubber bands around the bag’s neck and a peg rack.

After about 2 months, I have dried leaves of whatever: parsley, sage, oregano, basil, etc.

I took down all but the last two of these today.

The spices/herb leaves were added to the appropriate containers, the stems were added to the kindling box, and the rubber bands were returned to the appropriate container as well. The bags? The bags got filled with the “trash” that sits in the bottom of the wood or kindling box (leaves, small twigs, dirt from the logs, pieces of bark, etc.). The bag’s neck was retwisted and

Shazaam! 

You get instant, free, zero waste all-natural fire starters and a clean wood or kindling box!

It makes the messy business of cleaning the wood box kind of fun.

I felt the same years ago: we put corn out for squirrels and I used the dried cobs as fire starters. I thought that idea was original! My MIL told me that one of her jobs on the farm, when she was growing up, was to get the cookstove’s fire going, with dried corn cobs saved for that. [I didn’t grow up on a farm in the midwest, but in L.A.; it was new to me!]

This idea, of stuffing the kindling “trash” into lunch bags will probably also be old to many, but it was a new idea for me again. I’m glad I thought of it, whether it’s a new, or not.

New Monday List!

Okay, this is a restart of my 6-5 list idea. This is the six things on Mon and 5 each Tues – Fri, and catch up on the weekends notion.

Also I will redo the larger, long-term “to do” list sometime this week.

This will make THREE chore lists! The backlogged 6-5 lists, the current 6-5 lists, and the long-term list. Either I’ll just get overwhelmed and quit, again, or I’ll get it done.

What’s really likely is that I’ll get some of it done, for a while, then get overwhelmed and quit. That’s my pattern problem. Somehow, being organized about getting things done eventually leans on the PTSD and I panic and stop. Since many folk seem to get overwhelmed  I guess I don’t feel so bad about not being able to stick to it.

This blog has been a many-year long set of experiments to get me to be able to set a goal then get to it, ‘eh? A tidy house doesn’t seem to make most people panic like it does me, it makes them feel good. It makes me feel good too, but if I do it too consistently? I panic.

The problem has always been the panic. It took me until I was in my mid-50s to be well enough otherwise (not hurting/running scared) to be able to see that what happens to me in a tidy house is panic, and that because of that, it is instantly overwhelming. Telling me “ignore it,” [I can’t tell you how many people have said that to me!] is really useless. Telling myself that is equally useless.

The only real answer has been to find ways to turn tidying into habit, so that I don’t think about it, I just do it. Fine. Except that the process of doing that causes me to panic too — and the rat wheel goes around — again.

So. Here I am, again. With another shot at it, again.

Monday’s 6:

  1. File something. 5:11 p.m.
  2. Clean the front of the kitchen cabinet that hasn’t been cleaned the longest (I put stickies in the drawers/cabinets that tell me when I cleaned them last.) 6:30 p.m.
  3. Clean the cat food bin. 10:28 p.m.
  4. Straighten an underwear drawer. 10:20 p.m.
  5. (fill in). Bathroom floor & counter clean up. 1:40 p.m.
  6. Get the planner started.

Paring It Down for the Holidays!

I’m not quitting. But I was getting overwhelmed, and starting to panic about all the outstanding chores. Instead of fighting it, I just listened to my body — time to quit for a while. Okay.

I really, really would like to have the living room cleared out for the holidays. I also would really like the dining room to be clean too!

What I did this morning? I swept the entry and the hearth. I cleaned the tools and put them away. The kitchen needs to be caught up, I was gone most of yesterday and didn’t cook, so it just accumulated dishes to wash, the usual.

Here’s the last list, with the things I’d done before now removed. I’ll do the usual strike thru and bold dates when I get something done.

 

  • Work on pantry. Put back together sometime in the past few days. 11/17
  • Make sure there’s enough storage containers for the last glut. Used up the containers I had, gave away some food. Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Dust the cuprack. Mon. 11/20 10 a.m.
  • Get some of the cleaned laundry hung up which isn’t.
  • Do a short inventory of the meat in the big freezer. (Probably something like 1 chicken, 3 lbs ground round, and 1 other package of mixed chicken parts. . . but I don’t know exactly!)
  • Get the rice in one place, instead of 2-3, as it is now.
  • Clean, wax, organize the snow scoop, shovels, etc.
  • Use the commercial napkins for their intended craft, or get rid of them!
  • Get the odd pieces of insulation into the basement.
  • Check the water heater’s filter, does it need to be cleaned?
  • Sand some of the marks from the floor, at the edges.
  • Deal with the squashes from the farm. Thurs. night
  • Make room with the cold cereal for the hot cereal to go too. Decided against this, as it will make it both harder to get to AND visually it’s much more cluttered. If I’m going to do this, I need a new spot for both to go. . . .
  • Get the island/kitchen side cleared.
  • Update linked in.
  • Work on the house binder.
  • Clean out the small ice box.
  • Get through the last of the tomatillos. Sat. 11/18
  • (fill in) Get things put away in attic which need to go there and pull something out which needs to go elsewhere. Sat. 11-3 pulled something out.
  • (fill in)Put laundry away.
  • Clean the oven, so it’s clean before Thanksgiving! In process 11/22 10:15 a.m.
  • Dust the electronics in the office.
  • Eat the last watermelon.
  • Cull or add to the candle collection, as needed. 11/18
  • Get the salt & sand next to the front door.
  • Clean the couch.
  • Get the coffee ad framed.
  • Clean part of the upstairs that hasn’t been touched in some time.
  • Double check the emergency supplies. (fill in) Not sure of the date this was done, but it was.
  • Put away the canning supplies if not in use.
  • Put up the 3 missing hurricane clips
  • Put the grill away.
  • Put the tile in the basement. (I recently acquired a LOT of mosaic tiles.) 11/18
  • Get the ladders put away for the season. DH did this Sun. 11/19
  • Get the supplies for the knitted pillow all in one place so you can finish it!
  • Clean the office chairs.
  • Find a place to put away the dehydrator racks and do so when appropriate.
  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc.  Friday.
  • Find a new home for the cat towel basket. (Old towels used for car washing, spill clean up, whatever!)

    Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason

Pick up the yard, put more items away for winter. 11/3 Chairs put away, hoses, hose table. (All need to be covered.) Also not-so-great paint in the shed. Raked around the house, or most of it. (Need to pick up leaf piles.) Mostly done now., there’s an endless list of chores for the yard! 11/19

Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish. Deferred because I have THREE containers of general metal polish. I want to use up at least one of those before I make up more. I sure don’t need 4!!!

Go thru the record collection, cull. First part done. Moving to in-process 10/27, 2nd piece done 11/2, 3rd 11/21, forgot to note it!

Wash the net curtains. First pair pulled from over the dry stores 4:30. Washed Tues. 10/24 a.m. One pair to go. Two pairs to go.

Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do! Finished Fri. 11/10 

Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

Clean off DH’s desk. This is going to be delayed until he and I catch up. I pulled everything from the top drawer on his side of the dresser, we’re still going through all of that.

Finish the freezer/fridge cleaning. More done, but not complete. 7:00 p.m. Move to on-going.

 

5/35 or 14.3% 6/35 or 17.1%

 

Rug Ruminations

I have the same slubby fabric I talked about (here). I decided this is just enough to do the stairs and maybe, just maybe something else, but I better do the stairs first. I know who to take the fabric to, to get it prepped. I will ask for and take the woman’s advice. I know where to get a rug pad for the stairs, when I get that far. The stairs need to be painted first anyway.

I found the price tag on the bolt, I spent $32 for it. The stair runners I’ve found which I like are all around $200, so I have a way to go before I’ve spent that much.

With the stairs taken care of, that leaves the 5 x 8 foot or 6 x 8 foot rug for the hearth.

I like this, a LOT. My only problem is that it’s printed, not woven. So in 5 years or so I’ll have to buy another, sigh. I try to not buy printed fabrics for the house, I like woven patterns, as they wear 2x as long. My opinion, but it’s my house & money.

print rug

My second choice is another one at Birch Lane. (I can’t get an image to save so I can load it here.) (birch lane rug link)

My problem with it is two-fold three-fold. 1) It looks thick and comfy to walk on, and messy. 2)It’s jute & cotton (so is the first one) and because it’s so thick, I’m afraid it will stink, like the other mats did. [I’m less afraid of this with the printed rug, ironically, because I think they’d have to clean the fibers well to get the printing to work.] And 3) DH doesn’t like it.

Thought I had a solution. I found a rug at Ikea which would work.  But they aren’t in stock: in MA, in CT, in IL. . . . trying to find the same piece another way, found 0. Sh*t!

All of which leads me back to trying to make my own. I do not want to make a 5 x 8 foot rug. The last 2 door mats I did, I crocheted out of jute string, took about 2 balls of string and 8 hours to do, not to mention “airing” the string and having to stop because the fumes were getting to me.

I bought the last door mat at Home Depot for $8 on sale. Being sick for a day to make a door mat is one thing. Being sick for a week or two, month? to make a 5 x 8 foot rug? Not going to happen. And that’s not counting however long it would also make me sick living with it.

Since the last time I wrestled with this, I (finally) found a place which sells natural fiber rug warp and yarns. I can buy a cone of rug warp and use some fabrics I have prepped here and/or buy some and see what I think. I could crochet one, it would take a long time, but I could do it. Or, if I could find someone to teach me how to warp my loom, I could just weave one!

Also I will buy a small amount of the warp and other materials and see if I can come up with a way to make a rug with materials which don’t make me sick. If the printed rug at the store stinks? Then the warp, etc. is what I’ll do.

However, for the moment, I think I need to go to the store which has the printed rug and see if it stinks? If not, I may buy it, for $199. (That’s on sale, sigh.)

I will take the bolt end to the woman who can prep it and see what she thinks. She no longer has a store front but works out of her home. 11/15

Thirty years ago I would have gone to Pier One and bought a sisal mat. Actually, 30 years ago I bought a blue, flat woven, cotton rug from Conran’s. It’s in the attic. The color was uneven, so I stopped putting it out. In Tampa, I had wall to wall  med. gray carpeting in the living room, bedrooms, dining room, etc. The blue rug was used in my library, a large open area. The faults were obvious and I put it in the attic here. But the hearth area isn’t an open area, it’s fairly crowded.Our huge living room is divided into three functional areas. Hm. If I can get the rug out of the attic, I could maybe put a rug in the hearth area for $0.

I’m off to go look at the attic!

 

Monday’s Six & Unexpected Flurries. . .

I’ll explain the unexpected flurries first. DH over the weekend bought a bin to house our paint sprayer, which has been in its original cardboard box inside a laundry basket, and stashed in the wood shed. It needed to be put into the attic and it needed a better container for all its bits. So we bought one Sunday.

Sunday night here we had a huge storm. Bad enough we had no power or internet when we woke  and there were branches and pine cones and asst. stuff all over our yard when we got up. It seemed pretty obvious we’d be without power for some time, so DH took the day off to haul wood or water, help clear the yard, etc, In between other chores, he decided he’d pull out the paint sprayer. He took the box out of the basket and brought it inside and started pulling the pieces out.

Then he yelled my name, loudly! I came pelting down the stairs to find out what was wrong? There had been a mouse in the box. It was now loose in our kitchen. Ack!

He took the remaining packaging outside, no more mice. He pulled a loose piece out of the basket and there were suddenly mice, a pack of them, everywhere all over the deck and scurrying away from the nasty human who’d upset their home. The bad news? We have a mouse in the house (we have 2 cats), not great, but it will be dealt with either by the traps we set out or one of the cats will get it. The good news? The other mice didn’t get in!

After we went and got water (didn’t have what we needed, remember my backlogged goal?) we also got mousetraps. Set the traps, stored the water and went off to go stock the booth and get some organizational bits for the workshop.

As we were driving down the state road which leads to the next town en route to the college town where my booth is, I noticed a movement to my left. Fortunately, DH did more than notice, he swerved! The large pine tree which I’d noticed moving FELL all the way across both lanes (we were in the right one) and DH missed it by pulling the car onto the verge. There was a sort of whoosh followed by *crack!* as the tree hit the ground and a kind of cloud of pine needles. (The 2nd flurry of the day!)

We turned around and started pulling the tree out of the road. The fellow behind us stopped. The two cars coming the other direction stopped and between us the tree’s pieces were removed from the roadway. Instant community!

After that? No more flurries, of mice or pine needles, but that was plenty!

Okay. Today’s 6:

  1. Stitch together the two smaller rugs you’re using as a runner, so that it IS a runner.
  2. Get the measurements so DH can cut the plywood for the fan storage.
  3. Get the coffee ad framed.
  4. Get the rest of the burlap and stick it down onto the hill for erosion control.
  5. Clean part of the upstairs that hasn’t been touched in some time.
  6. Double check the emergency supplies. (fill in)

The backlog:

  • Put away the canning supplies if not in use.
  • Remount the last yardstick.
  • Find a new home for the basket which holds the “cat towels.” (Old towels used for whatever is needed: car washing, spill clean up, whatever!)
  • Pick up the yard, put more items away for winter.
  • Put up the 3 missing hurricane clips
  • Replace the saved emergency water supply. (I deliberately used the old water supply this summer.) Mon. 1:00 p.m.
  • Put the tile in the basement. (I recently acquired a LOT of mosaic tiles.)
  • Get the ladders put away for the season.
  • Get the supplies for the knitted pillow all in one place so you can finish it!
  • Get the rest of the better paint into the attic.
  • Clean the office chairs.
  • Find a place to put away the dehydrator racks and do so when appropriate.
  • Use up the ice cream base in the freezer.
  • Put garden hoses away for winter.
  • Recaulk the bathroom as needed.
  • Figure out a new way/place to store the yarn and put it away.
  • Look at the stored snow tires. Need new ones? In the budget?
  • Examine winter coats for flaws, etc. 

Chores on hold or in process, for whatever reason:

Make up/try the Naval Academy brass polish. Deferred because I have THREE containers of general metal polish. I want to use up at least one of those before I make up more. I sure don’t need 4!!!

Go thru the record collection, cull. First part done. Moving to in-process 10/27

Wash the net curtains. First pair pulled from over the dry stores 4:30. Washed Tues. 10/24 a.m. One pair to go. Two pairs to go.

Use up the eggplant from last week. Used the first one for Sunday’s dinner. 2nd one used Fri. lunch. (2 to go!)

Fertilize the lawn. Did the dooryard lawn and the lawn on the street side of the bulb bed. Tues. 4:30 p.m. Lots more to do!

Cull books from one “holding pattern” bookcases. Either they’re out or they stay!, in process Thurs. a.m. (I did the 1st shelf.)

Put family photos in the album. Can’t be done. Photos located, album missing!

Clean off DH’s desk. This is going to be delayed until he and I catch up. I pulled everything from the top drawer on his side of the dresser, we’re still going through all of that.

Morning Methods or Madness?

Not only is it MONDAY, so my brain is buzzing with all sorts of “things to be done,” but the construction people aren’t here, and there’s this huge back log. It’s also nearly FALL and so all the “delayed” and “put off” chores are screaming! at me.

Accordingly, my ADD tendencies have run amok this morning. I have worked on these items and finished the lined-through ones:

  • filing manuals, etc. for things we own.
  • cleaning out behind the washer/dryer Finished about 11:30 a.m.
  • culling/clearing out the top shelf of the small freezer
  • figuring out what I will use to replace the French door blinds
  • Researching how to do it.
  • Finding the fabric I already own for the curtains.
  • Figuring out a way to “put away” the scrub brush which went missing.
  • Figuring out a possible way to “put away” various roll goods: masking paper, Tyvek, shelf liner & weed cloth are the immediate needs
  • Work on clearing out the attic.
  • Work on cleaning up my office.
  • Laundry x 2 2nd load started around noon. Two loads done Tuesday as well.
  • Determining the trunk in the kitchen is still empty.
  • Figuring out another set of crates, etc. to take to the antique store as shelving.
  • Cull the clay flower pots — I have too many of course. Started about 2 p.m. but not yet finished. Worked on this Tuesday as well. Completed Sunday.

Still to do:

  • Go to the hardware store for a piece to determine if the method of hanging roll materials will work.
  • Clean the laundry room. Finished just before noon.
  • Make the bed.
  • Find the missing fabric and determine which piece will be used for the door curtains.
  • Clear out enough of the attic that the trunk can be moved from the kitchen up there. Enough of the attic was cleared Monday, but the trunk hasn’t been moved, yet.
  • Get the crates, etc. in my car and to the antique store. Completed Tuesday.