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There’s a chill in the air…

Remember in the movie Mary Poppins the wind changes directions and the chimney sweep starts singing “Winds in the east, mist coming in. / Like somethin’ is brewin’ and ’bout to begin. / Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, / But I feel what’s to happen all happened before.” That song is stuck in my head this morning.

Why you may ask? Because this morning it is windy and chilly here in northern Indiana. To the point that I’m wearing jeans and a hoodie to do the morning chores! It seems a little early for the first of September to be chilly, but I guess what’s to happen all happened before.

So with the change of temperature today my goals have changed a little. I’ll be planting a fall crop of lettuce, picking tomatoes and anything in the garden. This batch of tomatoes I’m going to sun dry for a nice addition to soups. Herbs need taken in as they are looking a little wild lately. So they will go in the dehydrator to be saved for later savored flavor.

A little tip if you can’t spare a canning jar to store your dried herbs in Dollar Tree stores sell airtight jars, wait for it… FOR A DOLLAR!

Today I am also going to inventory what we have stocked up and maybe make some dry soup mixes later this week. Another tip… dry soup mixes make excellent holiday gifts!

This change in the weather has me thinking about what to make for homemade gifts… I’m thinking about quick quilts or blankets, and dry soup mixes maybe a loaf of artisan bread…. Sounds very cozy doesn’t it?

Speaking of cozy check out my pen to paper pal who makes cozy items from natural, undyed, pure sheep wool! http://www.hookinsheep.ca She’s located in Canada and would love some American customers!!!

Well off to the garden, friends! Remember when the wind changes it’s all happened before… and live a simple life.

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Fall Anxiety Hoarding

When the days begin to cool, prematurely or not the sense of the fall anxiety hoard starts. It’s a tightness in my chest, a nagging in the brain; that I need to stock up for winter. Maybe I’m part squirrel gathering nuts, or the bear bulking up for hibernation. Either way it started.

Last week had cooler than normal temperatures and those cool mornings had me grabbing my hoodie on the way out the door. Maybe my hoodie is the key to this fall anxiety hoarding; either way it hit me. Slowly nagging… do you have enough pasta? Toilet paper? Soup stocks? Maybe we don’t have enough q-tips.

Ugh. This fall anxiety hoard brings thoughts of loosing power, being snowed in, or even more likely this year being home bound in another pandemic. While my husband probably thinks I’m nuts for stocking up, it has always helped cut costs over the winter months.

In another blog I’ll go into more detail how I “PREP”are the household for winter, this one can just be about what a nut I am, and we can laugh at my fall anxiety hoarding together.

First and foremost I make a list. Whenever I’m anxious I make a list. I’ve noticed this about myself over my forty some years. Problems at work? Make a list! Problems with the children? Make a list! Stressed about what to make for supper? Make a list! Then rewrite it in order. Whether by grocery department or order of importance. I make a list.

To delve further into this fall anxiety hoarding I think of all the comfort foods I cook, and how many supplies I would need to get through winter without a trip to the grocery store. I know it’s impossible for the most part, but my dad was a boy scout and always told us “always be prepared”. He is also a list maker and “PREP”arer so I guess it’s genetic.

From my lists I then drive myself crazier by looking for deals. Ten for ten at Kroger? And a digital coupon! And fuel points? You had me at hello. Meijer buy ten get the eleventh free? And I can mix and match? Hold my spot in the self checkout lane! Aldi can goods by the flat? Who doesn’t need twenty-four cans of green beans that the kids loathe? Bulk stores don’t get me started! Free samples, and huge carts to peddle my extra large jugs of laundry detergent that I can’t even lift off the shelf in the laundry room! Move over flat bed cart I’m stacking it deep and you’re selling it cheap!!

I tend to buy more pasta, flour, stock base pastes, toilet paper and paper towels than your average hibernation bound bear, but I will have enough to make it to spring. I like to stock up on oddball shit too… toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. my brain begins to reel as my pen hits the paper. Okay four people, four toothbrushes a month, let’s see… October, November, December, January, February and March… that’s six months times four people that’s twenty four toothbrushes. And bam I’m out grabbing 24 toothbrushes.

I can a lot, and freeze a lot from the garden. So that takes care of most of the veggies, spaghetti sauce and salsas, and beans. Already I’m thinking how many jars of tomato stuffs I have left from last year and how many more I’ll need to get to March and realistically until the next batch of tomatoes come on the vine.

Sometimes I do grow things that no one ends up eating so it goes to the chickens or the hog. Last year I had a bumper crop of green beans I sweated my a$$ off canning those damn things only to have them not seal properly. You should have heard the boys rejoice. At least the chickens didn’t seem to mind my blunder.

My fall anxiety hoarding may seem like a waste of time and money to some, but the winter months hold the most expenses. Heating, higher electric bill, holiday gathering expenses, and Christmas presents. With my onset of fall anxiety hoarding I also develop this lovely sense of panic about Christmas gifts. Gifts from us, gifts from Santa, different wrapping paper for each boy, and from each gift giver. Not to mention trying to be creative with gifts for extended family, and additionally what in the world to get my husband!

Additionally I rearrange every nook and cranny in every closet, cabinet, and shelving unit to make room for as much stuff as possible. It’s a gift to be able to cram hundreds of can goods into a closet that once held your linens. LOL. No seriously. I noticed there was a shelf or two that only held an air humidifier or a salt lamp, and then they became shelves for shampoos, body washes, toilet bowl cleaners and the like. Neatly lined up in nice little rows.

Under the bathroom sink became the toothbrush, dental floss, and shower louffa warehouse. Over the toilet cabinet holds razors, mouthwash, deodorants, q-tips, lotions, and hair products. Under the kitchen sink holds cleaners, and scrubbing paraphernalia. Storage. It’s all about storage, and you can never have enough of it.

Fall is the start of all my anxieties, and we’re not even there yet. It’s going to be a well stocked year.

As you’re wheeling that extra large cart around looking for twenty pound jars of peanut butter remember to do the math, and to live a simple life….

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Just Shootin’ Cans

Just a boy in the heat of the day shooting cans with a sling shot. How simple is this? There’s nothing wrong with it, he’s not harming the masses, he’s quite simply being a boy.

In the day and age of video games, and technology of all kinds being shoved down kids throats it pleased me that he asked to shoot cans with his sling shot. Our fathers and grandfathers grew up doing the like and look what great men they are.

I may idolize my father because I am his daughter but any many men are made like him anymore. I blame not shooting cans in the heat of a July night.

How many times to we push electrical devices at our kids when we don’t want to “deal” with their boredom? Many a child has been sat in a bouncy seat in front of Barney, Teletubbies, or Bob the Builder.

Back in the day we were sent outside to fend off our boredom. Ride your bike, go find bugs whatever just get out of my hair. My childhood was spent exploring the woods, and the creek behind the house. Add in the equation of my younger brother and needless to say it was never boring. My brother was very and is very accident prone.

Christmas Day circa 1980 something he got a Bug Foot RC truck… needless to say I watched it tumble down a revine Christmas Day in a fiery blaze of glory. End over end down the revine… and Big Foot was no more.

Ah, boy stuff.

Kids need to be kids, and not the sissy version of 2000s, 2010s or 2020s…

They need to shoot cans in the heat of a July night…. and live a simple life.

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The battle with tomatoes

The weather has not been forgiving lately… rain, rain, and more rain. Temps have fallen to the 70s, and although humid it’s not great tomato weather.

The other day I noticed the dreaded early blight or septoria leaf blighting the tomato plants. For those of you unfamiliar with this menace to the garden you’ll be able to identify it easily. You’ll notice yellowing leaves towards the bottom of the plant. The leaves themselves are dotted in a blackish gray.

The menace of the garden… early blight

Early blight happens when spores are thrown up by splashing rain. This is a fungal spore that is always present in soil. When it is wet and cool the spores thrive.

Starting at the bottom the early blight will move upwards damaging leaves and the tomatoes themselves.

To combat this menace I quickly got out my garden shears and began removing the lower non fruit bearing leaves and branches. By doing this you remove any leaves that could get splashed by rain, and give the plant a chance to dry up and fight this menace.

After using my garden shears on the removal of diseases leaves I wash them with rubbing alcohol. I believe that the cleaning will keep me from distributing the fungal spores to any other plant in the garden.

Hopefully my crop of tomatoes will survive and produce many jars of salsa and spaghetti sauce for the cold months ahead.

When Mother Nature gives you cool weather and rain, and produces early blight, and more work for you… remember to live a simple life.

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A lazy day

After work we went to the big city to stock up on supplies… coffee, soaps for laundry and dishwasher, allergy medicine and other odds and ends.

After unloading said necessities rooster watered the garden and is now spraying the damn dandelions in the yard…

We’ve been sitting in the sun watching the ducks and chickens while sipping adult beverages. The ducks enjoyed a good bath from the hose, and Charlie was stealing the garden water….

Charlie and Rooster

Meanwhile I am thumbing through the latest from GRIT magazine. Considering making apple mead… a back up plan if the damn louffas don’t sprout I guess.

It’s a beautiful night. Warm. Dry, and just humid enough to make your hair frizz. Hashtag perfect night.

The chickens are enjoying the “duck hut” more than the ducks.. They’ve been laying eggs inside the hut and hanging out in the shade.

The birds are chirping, the breeze has slowed, and this lawn chair is pretty comfy.

Today at work I realized that I need to find some mint plants. Why? I’ve been making more Greek food and it seems mint is a staple item in every dish. Why didn’t I think of this before? Not that it’s catastrophic I never saw mint available at the local garden store, but my eyes are wide open and searching now!

The dogs are basking in the sunshine as well, and I’m worried this weekend my alabaster skin will still become lobster red even with sunscreen… it’s supposed to be 86 all weekend which makes a mental note for me to make sure to apply sunscreen to youngest every hour. He’s the ginger of the family I am sure you understand.

Grocery shopping for the week is done and this weekend I just need to make buns, Mayo, and egg bites for the week.

Mental note I need to call the local mom and pop grocery store about getting veggies from them for the pig. I hope to almost completely feed the piggy off of veggies and reduce feed costs considerably.

Today we were property shopping at work…. the shoe doesn’t fit yet if you know what I mean. I think it’s just day dreaming when work is slow. Acreage *sigh* what everyone should dream of rather than the 3000 square foot home on .26 acres. We want/need more land. Can you imaging how much food we could raise then??!!

I think we are a different breed of people…