Saturday, November 5, 2011
Some may have noticed that my posts have become few and far between recently. I used to take time to write a little something and catch up on the blogs I enjoy reading while Isabelle was taking her naps. Well in the past few weeks, she has really quit taking her naps. (sniff sniff). Occasionally if we've been having a really busy day or she got up really early (like this morning) than she will fall asleep and I jump on the computer for a few, but other than that, blogging has been bumped to the bottom of my priority list. Fall is finally in full swing and every second possible we are outside enjoying the wonderful weather. We've been getting the garden prepared for winter, and doing a few other minor projects around the house. We've cleaned out one section of the basement and hopefully by this time next year it will be our root cellar. Our neighbor with the chickens got himself a couple of turkeys and one interesting evening was spent chasing the thing around our yard. It had gotten out of their coop and over the fence to our side. Our dog was going crazy trying to escape out the back door to help us chase it. I think the whole scene would have made a good cartoon. But I expect things will start winding down a bit soon, as it starts getting colder, and then hopefully I will have more time to blog.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
So this time of year sometimes presents a conundrum at our house. First off let me explain that in my not too distant past before I knew better, I was the type of person who always either ran the heat or air. I loathe being hot. That is when I am my crankiest, and so I often set the thermostat really low. Now over the years I have really worked at acclimating myself to being comfortable in warmer temperatures. Each year we are able to put off turning the air on longer and longer. Other than being environmental conscious, with the rising cost of electricity, I haven't really had a choice. But I have to admit that this is hardest for me at night. Ever since I had my daughter two years ago, I have found that I sweat horrible at night. Maybe from hormonal changes? I don't know, but I do know it makes me miserable! This time of year is usually great because It's really cool at night and I can leave the windows open and I sleep great. Last night, however, we had torrential rains, strong winds, and thunder and lighting. (So of course Andrew slept like a rock). On nights like this I can't leave the window open and it gets really really stuffy in our house if the windows are closed and the air is off. And I was laying there in be, staring up at the ceiling fan, thinking about how it stays so much cooler in my daughters room, and seriously considering going to sleep on her floor when it happened. Duh! In the entire time we have lived in our house we have never switched the direction of the ceiling fans. If they turn clockwise, they push warm air down (so this is the direction they should go in the winter) and when they turn counterclockwise, they keep the warm air up at the ceiling ( for summer). I've know all this for a while, but for some reason never actually put my knowledge into practice. So I climbed on top of the bed and when I still couldn't reach, woke up Andrew and had him switch the fan. Let me tell you the cool down was immediate. I finally fell asleep and didn't wake up hot once.
Friday, September 23, 2011
Fall is finally here. I'm not alone in naming this season as my favorite. There is something about a cool breezy fall day, with the leaves swirling and the smell of pumpkin and spice that just puts a smile on your face. I am so fortunate to live in a part of the country that has very pronounced seasons. When the summer conditions haven't been too dry (which they haven't for us thankfully) the leaves all around turn brilliant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. It makes me feel like I am living in a painting.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Okay, so I have to admit that my jeans are fitting a bit more snug these days. In fact, I fear that if I don't manage to loose a few pounds I might not fit into my winter clothes! And I guess with the temperatures flirting with fifty (thanks to TS Lee!) I better get a move on. I'm not a person who generally worries about weight. I probably weigh more than I should, but I feel healthy and have no trouble enjoying my life, so I don't really pay it much mind. You see I have a weakness, and it's name is bread. And ever since I starting making sourdough, I can't stop. I also am a non-believer in artificial things (butter, sweetener, etc.) so I guess some of the things I eat are probably higher in calories. When I had a full time job outside the house I was always moving and on my feet. Not that I sit around all day by any means, I just have more opportunities for a sneak of bread here, or some homemade cookies there. I love to bake. Ugh..getting hungry just writing this post! And I guess since Isabelle is two now, I can't really use the "just had a baby" thing anymore. Last fall I was walking routinely at the park. Isabelle has since decided she doesn't like to ride in her stroller, but maybe I can convince her. We'll see.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
My friends, I am at war. The evil enemy? Weeds. They have staged a coup and are attempting to take over the world! Or at the very least my garden. And I have to say, they are damn close. Is it just me or does it seem that the hotter it gets, and the more other things - things you want like my pole beans for example - wither the more aggressive weeds get. It's like they know it's so hot outside you won't be out there as often as you should, so they use the opportunity to multiply like bunnies. Is oppressive, humid heat the ideal mating conditions for weeds? Today it's only in the upper 80's, and overcast, so I took the opportunity to give my garden some much needed TLC. I need to prepare beds and get going on my late summer planting. I hope to add collard greens and another round of radishes to the resident list. But oh the weeds! I just spent the last two hours yanking and cursing my way through the garden, getting stung by a wasp and attacked by ants, who I believe are in cahoots with the weeds. And what's more frustrating? When you sit back panting, thinking you've finally got one clear patch, and you look away, assessing your next target, when you look back, more weeds magically appear, laughing at you. And then there's the neighbors. All around shaking their heads at the "hippie" lady yelling at her plants while they spray another dose of roundup over every nook and cranny of their yards. If I were a weed I'd want to live in my yard too.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Chemical Pregnancy? I'd never even heard of such a thing until I went to the doctor for my first prenatal exam. A chemical pregnancy starts out just like a normal one, sperm and egg meet, hook up, and make their way together up to the uterus to implant and make baby. In a normal pregnancy the now fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, and divides into two. Half will be a placenta and half will be a baby. In a chemical pregnancy after implantation for some reason the process just stops. There is no divide, and ultimately, no baby. A woman who is experiencing a chemical pregnancy will show positive results on a home pregnancy test, as well as possibly even experience some early pregnancy symptoms, because of the presence of pregnancy hormones. This is what happened to me. I'm told it's not the same thing as a miscarriage because there was never any baby, but let me tell you if you've gone around thinking you had a baby growing inside, it sure feels the same. I have to say I was crushed. I've had a few days now to come to terms, and really I am okay. We weren't trying to get pregnant or anything, and I'm only 26 so I still have time. I have learned, though, that this is one of those reasons people wait to break the news. I wish I had gone to the doctor before I told folks the news. Fortunately I didn't tell too many people, just my immediate family.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We received our first power bill since I stopped using the clothes dryer and I must say I am pleased. I really wasn't sure what kind of effect it would have on our bill, but I was hopeful. Our bill was actually $7.36 more than last month, but there was a five percent rate increase starting with this current bill. What numbers I am really interested in (other than the actual dollar amount we have to pay) are the kWh used compared to last year, and the dollar amount compared to last year. As compared to this same month last year we used 362 kWh less and our bill is $8.92 less than our bill last year. This is with a rate increase and the added energy usage of the freezer (which we didn't have last year). I know $8.92 is small potatoes for most folks, but if I save a least that much every month that's over one hundred dollars a year. I know one hundred dollars is not much to a lot of people either. Some people spend that much on one meal out to eat, but it is a lot for us. It seems like an uphill battle sometimes. Our entire house is completely electric. No gas or fireplaces, so second to our mortgage it is the most expensive bill we have and I am still looking for more ways to reduce it to be frugal and to be green. If you happen to live in an area serviced by TVA, check out their home energy evaluations. If you take a free and simple evaluation, they will send you a kit in the mail and it is absolutely free. The energy conservation kit includes:, two compact fluorescent light bulbs,outlet and light switch gaskets, filter whistle, two faucet aerators, hot water temperature gauge, home thermometer, and a “How to Save” brochure. If you are not sure if TVA is your power provider, ask your power company. If you know for sure it is not, still check with your power company to see if your local provider offers anything similar. It only takes a couple of minutes and at the very least you get some free light bulbs!
Monday, July 18, 2011
This weekend was such a busy one. These days they usually are. Last night when Isabelle was finally asleep and the toys put away and the dishes were done, I plopped down on the sofa completely pooped, but very contented. We got a nice break from the heat with temps only in the low 90's and a break from the afternoon rains. I did extra loads of laundry so they could dry outside in the sunshine. Also had to pull up the now completely dead tomato plants and burn them. I'm thinking late blight maybe? I've not had too much experience with badly diseased plats before, (guess that tells you I haven't really been doing this that long) but from everything I've read that's my diagnosis. Well whatever it was I do know that you shouldn't compost diseased plants, so we built a little fire pit in the back yard and burned them. It took a while because we had a hard time finding enough dried wood to burn. The cucumbers look like they are dying too, but I have to admit I'm not sad to see them go. I'm sick of cucumbers. I pickled another batch this weekend. Totaled including what I gave away I ended up with 23 jars of pickles. Not to mention the bags of raw cucumbers I forced on people and the amount devoured by us. I also used the break from the heat to mow the yard. I hate doing this, so it usually gets put off until the grass is above our ankles and all the neighbors have done their yard at least twice. Afterwards I mentioned to Andrew how wouldn't it be nice if we had a goat? I was only half kidding when I said it, thinking really about having one to eat our grass, but then we began seriously discussing it. We have room for a miniature or two (probably two because they are social creatures) and it would be great to get one for milking like a pygmy or dwarf. Turns out Andrew really loves the idea, so we are beginning to research what it takes to care for goats. (Any suggestions or resource info would me much appreciated!) Also we had to clean our air filter this weekend. This is something, like most people, we let go on too long, but if you don't clean them (supposed to do it once a month) or replace them if you have disposable ones, regularly, your ac unit gets over worked, doesn't run as efficiently, and can eventually break. The up side of having a cleanable one as opposed to the more commonly used (at least here) disposable ones is the obvious. Don't have to keep buying new ones, and avoid unnecessary waste. The downside is you have to leave the ac off while it dries. I suppose the solution to this would be to buy a second one and rotate them out, but that seems to be something we never think of until we are sitting there with the ac off waiting for it to dry. I also mixed up a sourdough starter. This is something I've never done before an am really excited about trying. It seems to be frothing nicely and doing everything it's supposed to do, so hopefully I will have a nice loaf of sourdough soon to post about. I'm not going to list every other thing I did this weekend, but the point I wanted to make was this. Not too many years ago I had a job where I worked near eighty hours a week, and was always on call. I would come home, completely pooped, prop my feet up, and think about how absolutely miserable I was. I didn't have time for my husband, or my home, or even myself. When I had Isabelle I knew there was no way I could work that much and still be the kind of mother I wanted to be (I am not judging working mom's here). I quit my job. It was really the most liberationg thing I ever did and it took me near a year to get over that feeling that tomorrow I would have to go to work. Our home became my work, and it has been so much more satisfying. I feel proud of what I do. Since my salary was more than half our household income we took a drastic paycut, but I do not regret it for a second. I'm getting to live the life that is right for me, and my family, and we have never been happier.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We have new neighbors! The house behind ours had been empty for some time, and finally a family has moved in. Our properties share a chain link fence along the back, so I have a nice view of their yard and they of ours. One day I noticed the new neighbor working hard at building something in the back corner right near our property, so I introduced myself and asked what he was building. A chicken coop! It's all completed now, and his chickens settled in. I must say he did a very nice job. I would take a picture, but I've just met them and they might not be okay with me taking pictures of their property and posting them on the Internet. I have to admit that I am suffering from a bit of chicken envy. I've wanted chickens for some time now, but we live in a subdivision. Even though all the lots are decent sized and all the yards fenced, the neighbor to our right has five or six cats that all stay outside and I think one just had kittens. None of them are fixed. I always worried that the cats, who frequently hang out in our yard, would kill the chickens. I am really interested to see how this works out for them. Maybe we can have chickens after all.