Sunday, March 31, 2013


I planted Asparagus years ago.
I've let it go for three years now... this year I get to eat from it! yea

Normally these are the first foods to pop up come spring... but not mine... not a sign as of yet.

But I did actually get it all weeded out, got the red honeysuckle trimmed and under control, not to forget the rose bushes all pruned back into a topiary shape and got all the suckers cut off around the base.

I got a lot done, but just can't wait for all the food to start coming in and allowing me to eat good and cheap. 

The trees are bursting and look like they will need even more trimming. 

So my plan tomorrow is to cut out the Winter Jasmine from the road / drive way area and move it up the mountain so I can train it to flow down the hill like flowing water. So I can work my Asian garden around it; the witch hazel tree; and the boulders up the hill. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pictures and Reading.

I was one of those kids, out of sorts.  The boys all said I was ugly, too much of a tomboy and while I loved taking things apart and putting them back together.  I was never a good reader.

My mother read to me every chance she got... with twin sisters it was as they were asleep, books she wanted to share with me, books my elders purchased for me.  There were ALWAYS trips into Nashville... almost an hour away in those days (no interstate yet) to the public library to inspire, tease me into reading more.  I hated reading!

I hated it even more as it was expected in school, especially as each child was compared to Betsy... (not my sister) but some little girl who could read perfectly, no stuttering, no time delay and with the ability to paint a picture in my head.  I wanted to read like that but I couldn't read fast enough, clear enough... as my brain saw words that were not there... my brain painted a picture ahead of my eyes and mouth. 

Come to find out I needed glasses!  You know just one more thing to make my orthopaedic shoes stand out more, my long forehead I was already teased about... I was missforhead four eyes.  Kids are cruel.  At some point parents and teachers have to step in and step in they did (in those days)... BUT my brain adapted and it started to create another world faster than that of the kids making fun of me. 

I made up stories in my head.
I made up new worlds in my mind.
And when I felt threatened I retreated into my own world... talking or writing.

My parents worried about all my alone time in my room, they worried about things worse than what was in my mind, and as it lingered into teenage years... they worried about drugs, alcohol and peer pressure.

My only peer pressure was actually in my own family.  Those of my generation but older than me, raised completely different from me, in a different state, very few rules or guidelines, and more freedom than anyone else I knew of...  they were the pressure of drugs, alcohol, and stupid things to do.  After all they were older than me, family, and suppose to be trust worthy.... NOT...

My parents were good people
Ask any parent about money in the 70's and how it was hard to come by.
Gas was getting more expensive, basics sky rocketing, and with THREE kids to feed with one small income it was tight.
BUT we were always taken into town, The Nut Cracker ballet, The Parthenon, The parks all around town not excluding those Saturday Library trips to get books, and return the others. 

I got my glasses, they called it lazy eye, had to have sunglasses when ever I went outside, wasn't allowed to squent one eye or I was going to end up with a patch over my eye all the time.  

I knew how to read... I just couldn't... well I could but it was slow and painful and I never wanted to read aloud.   By the 6th grade I could barely read out loud like a 3rd grader.  I could write fine, but just don't ask me to read.  Please stop asking me to read aloud teachers... they never did... SO  My parents did as every other parent would do, they got me a tutor.

Turned out it was a sweet lady from church.  Ms June Spain a relative by marriage... and a long family friend.  Likely in the eastern star (not sure but they all were in those days) likely in the ladies home club, definitely an active member of the community.  

She painfully listened to me each day after school. 
With her help my mind settled, she slowed me down even more and showed me how to concentrate on a specific line, then a sentence, then a paragraph till finally I could read a chapter without being disgusted with my self. 

I continued to write all the time.  I filled spiral notebooks, several if not almost hundreds, of all my pain, all my thoughts, all my dreams.  By the time I got to college my writing was good enough I wrote for my boyfriend who always got a's on his ... while I still got c's on mine.  Written by the same hand, mind and soul but the judgement was there.  It was a strange situation.  I finally got out of that one too. 

But no matter how horrible your kids read, and even if they do not like to read, we all need to find a book that inspires us.  We all need to write even if only for ourselves, so we continue to better ourselves in any and every way possible.

What prompted this post? The movie... The Mighty.... great movie for kids to watch.

Friday, March 29, 2013

This is a strange time for me to be typing.
It's PM instead of the dark of AM

Normally I am up early anywhere from 3am till about 5am if I'm lucky.
Today many things around me changed so I'm up after 7pm.  All the animals fed and the birds all nestled in their fuzzy cuddle bunnies.  The ones I am pet sitting are covered and I hear them grinding their beaks. 

The house is warmer than normal, merely for the birds I am sitting, not our normal 60 degrees down here. I've turned off the heat upstairs to save money as all the heat rises anyway... so.... even with doors closed it is warmer than normal.

I've made black bean soup today.
All from dried beans, grated onions, carrots, and celery, a can of salsa is the only thing not scratch and that is all the salt added.  There is enough for an army, so I am likely to be eating soup and making black bean tacos with them as well.

Snow is falling once again as the temperatures fall with the sun.

I hope my dreams put me to sleep instead of keeping me awake.

My love to the world!
I hope you are are staying as busy and I am trying to be.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Life in the wait.

For the third day in a row;
As the snow falls effortlessly like feathers.
The trees ready to burst,
and the birds desperately protecting their eggs.

I fear the frog eggs in my little pond will not survive this freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw, with no protections.

Life and its circle are continuous...
Never a far distance vision...
but a short visions ever changing
as we walk in the circle of life that is never ending...

Another cold frozen morning...
Hot mash for my horses.
Hot veggies for all the birds.

Another day wrapped so tightly I can't feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.
Another day of boots and mud as the ground warms the falling snow.
Another day of possibilites ... as I await for Old Man Winter to fall asleep again and the animals to awaken,
and it all feed my soul.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

why is it so hard?

Well... after working so many hours I cleaned each corner of my house except the birds room... My pet sitting birds arrived before I could do the birds room and I can't do it while they are here.  Why because as healthy as my birds are, all birds carry silent issues.  Thus I can not expose other birds to anything mine carry.   It is all a matter of chance but a chance I do not take with other peoples lovely family members.

So I've worked hard physically.
I've kept myself busy in order not to go crazy!
? no job!
But at least I am not spending money, wasting gas, and I am saving us money by getting things on sale when I can and planning ahead as I once did.

BUT at some point I have got to get another job.
YES I am looking each day... YES I have a quota of putting out at least 10 applications and resumes' a day and I do except on Sundays when there are rarely new post.

I know... I am an average person... but I'm not.
I know... I am average in knowledge...but I'm not.
I know ... I am a good worker, I put my all into anything I do.
I know... I will be a good employee for someone IF they will give me a chance.
I know... I have pulled my weight at any job I did and contributed in any way I could and I will again.

Today it is all about computers.
Today you have to fill out an application on line, and HOPE someone calls you back.  YES I make calls yes I follow up but no one seems to like that at all?

Funny how we used to walk into a place fill out an application and ask for an interview, if one was granted you had a time and place in mind, you went, you answered more questions and hoped for one more interview.... Today your application sits in a computer never making it to a desk much less getting any type of indication it has been read or even printed out at any point.

If anyone has any ideas on how I am to do this better please let me know... I am afraid technology has surpassed the human touch of getting a job.  At this point any job.

Yes the depression starts to set in.
Yes the knowledge of not contributing to my house starts to set in.
Yes the weight of hardships to come starts to hit home.
Yes it all gets heavier as time goes on...
Yes noise gets in
Yes the static or fog starts to blur my vision of life.
YES... YES....YES...
But life goes on and I have to push forward, keep going, and I will get a job!

Tomorrow I will apply for more positions, I will pull more grass clumps, I will turn over a few more feet of earth for my garden, I will push through all the walls in my way; as I do what needs to be done, I do what I must to work and keep going...

Heavy one day, Light the next, but life all the same.
My love to the world...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grass, Rain and weeding.

I'm in a pickle.
I have but one piece of machinery and very few hand tools.

So as it has been raining as of late, and during the day the ground is not frozen, it appears this is going to be the perfect day to weed my garden areas for spring.

I plan to work a tiny section next to the barn today.  I hope to work the soil, pull the grass clumps, and rid the area of live roots.  IF I have time I will re build the wall I asked the guys to put up earlier but they didn't care of what they were doing and it is down.  So I will beat stakes or limbs into the ground to hold the branches I will stack as a wall. 

I will only be out in the rain doing this for a short while as I allow my mare out of grass.  I am excited about getting a few things done in the rain today.  Rain and Snow are not a big deal IF you have the gear.

Oh well wish me luck!

Monday, March 25, 2013

How are you on groceries?

We are doing well on $50.00 a week.  This is what is allowed the "average" person on welfare so a long time ago I figured I'd try it to see how it works out for us.  It took me a while to cut the fat out of our diet, keep in the protein, and not allow all the processed foods to creep back in.  It takes time to plan but it is working!  The crock pot is my best friend! 

With only fifty dollars I do well enough to get One Chicken, One piece of Beef, or Pork.  I get Salmon when it is on sale! But I recently found at my most hated store I can get what they call Wild Salmon (it does not stay pink when I cook it!!!!!so it is NOT REALLY wild!  )I get a LARGE piece of Salmon for only $10.00 yep it is enough for him to eat three times a me twice. so 2 dollars a serving! Can't beat that! Or can you? I'm sure there are those out there much better at this than me, but we all have to try. But I would also like to learn from others as well.

I no longer allow myself Coke... my one horrible addiction!   I could drink it more than water if allowed.  But instead I spend 1/2 that amount on Tea.  Green Tea mostly, but when I am trying to sleep it will not do, I switch to a loose tea I get from Asheville that is caffeine free.  Tonight it is rose tea.... most of the time it is lavender, because I grow it and use it to spray the birds and give it to them once a week to drink.  They love it and it has good qualities to it for us all.  Not to forget it makes the closets smell good!  If I can't afford tea's from the grocery, don't put it past me not to use the peelings from oranges, apples, or any fruit I have had in the past few months to flavor my water.

I did just recently loose my fridge and freezer so that means I lost all my frozen berries, stocks, and frozen veggies.  This was a hard blow but I will build it all back up over time.  One chicken can get me 4 more stocks for later. 

I base all my cooking around Soups now.
So a bag of potatoes
A bag of onions
A bag of carrots
one bunch of celery
two heads of garlic
Sweet Potatoes
Dried Beans of all types... depending on the meat I get!
I get dried chilies when I can
Nuts ... almonds, walnuts
I get what ever fresh fruit I can when they go on sale.
sometimes cuties are cheaper than oranges. (I keep their skins and boil them for different reasons)
Apples are normally decently priced around here.
I still have kale and chard in the garden (yep it's almost April and it lasted all winter) those are free and easy as a side dish.
my most expensive item is my gluten free flours.  I have yet to perfect making/mixing them myself and until I do... well it EATS my budget.... good thing is I ration it out pretty well so I now stick the money back each week for replacement time.

I only purchase a whole Chicken.  Why? because in dishes the dark meat always has more flavor, the white ... well 1/2 of it normally disappears before I can get the chicken out of the crock pot.  The hubby just loves it. (cooked with all the veggies above of course, no salt!) One chicken will make two casseroles and plain eating as well.  A casserole should last the two of us a few days (3) at the least.  And a Chicken Pot pie last a little longer.So over a week on one chicken! Not to forget its incredible stock it makes after I pull all the meat off the bones. 
And don't think those peelings, skins or tops of veggies go directly into the compost pile either!  I slowly boil them all to an incredible stock before I allow their remains to go into the compost pile.  That way there is no hard debate of onions bothering worms as most say they are fine if they are cooked... and by the time they get them, there is little to digest anyway.
I do on occasion purchase cilantro fresh but it too will be popping up in the garden soon.
I pull my herbs from my herb garden and have them stashed everywhere in the kitchen cabinets, still on the drying rack and some in jars kept over from when I did purchase them years before.
several types of Thyme
Basil... (harder to keep but there are ways)

So Potato Soup can be made several ways and used to stretch more hardy soups as well.
But my French Onion Soup is one that my friends always think I got somewhere else and brought it in just for them.  Not to mention as I SLOWLY cook these onions I set aside some for sandwiches later in the week. 
Bean Soups are a good staple as well, they vary depending on the meat at hand. 

Life is good and will be even better when fresh food starts to grow at the back door, at the barn and ONLY if I get the old gravely going in the garden section on the estate. 

How well does your kitchen run?
What food is your staple?
How much do you spend on food?
Would you try cutting your bill down to $50.00 a couple?  I didn't think it could be done!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Magazines and Books

Oh how I love the smell of a book.
BUT what do you do with your books after you are done?
If it has good research, ideas for projects, or gives me support with being suffient I have the hardest time getting rid of it.

I have squares of books hidden in them.  I have books stacked in areas, each with their own catagories.  Living roofs, shade plants, native plants, options instead of invasive plants , companion plantings or beautiful gardens to eat from.  How can I get rid of these things I use?  I sometimes put them ALL together and search through them for a specific.  Sometimes I reseach on line and then search out the hard copy.  I hate to waste paper printing something out that I already had. 

Don't get me wrong... I go through each and every one and I tear out all the advertizements that I don't care about.  It makes the magazines much smaller... pages and pages of things from the back.  I use these throw away pages on the edges of my plant areas.  NOT around my plants but on the edges where the grass starts to move back in quicker and easier than other places that are being worked more regularly.

How do you throw all yours away?
What do you do with them when you do?
What do you do when you need the information or want the artical again?

I need help! 
No I am not at a hoarding point, but it is at the point I can no longer allow the space to keep them.
I use them...
I use them especially when the sun is gone in the winter and I need something bright to help me plan and dream of a better garden or another way I can work to make my barn more effecient, healthier for my horses; or how I can add more animals without adding a lot more time.
What trees do I need to add next
What bushes do I add for more food, what soil do they need, what ammendments it require.  What are the pest problems? 

I know .... I know... but searching on line is not always the easiest or the most correct way to research things.  So much crap to go through on the internet as where I pick up a book or a magazine I can use the internet to check the references and see where they take me. 

Any ideas out there?
I'll stop my rattle!
But this is where my mind goes when I try to narrow down my stacks each year.

My love to the world... And Thank You ahead of time!  Anything is a help.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Half way through.

It only took me forever, but the living room is now clean top to bottom.  I threw away several bags of things I just wasn't using, didn't need and were taking up space in my life. 

Antique Bird Cage on the front porch... and getting its touch ups to be sold ASAP. 

The only thing I didn't get cleaned out was the supply cabinet next to the front closet.
I am not going to worry about this until I get through the first floor of the house. 

The Bathroom is my next task... the crome is rusted and bleeds down the antique tub.  It is a perfect tiny bathroom.  Only a medacine cabnet for storage; litterally nothing else in the room so we live out of travel toiletry bags.  After the bath then I move on to the birds room as soon as I can.
It is so nice having clean floors.  What you have to understand is I am at the barn several times a day, so it's not mud I'm tracking back into my little house it is much more! ha ha ha...

When I get to the birds room that means more natural fertilizer for my plant beds I just made at the back door.  I have the bird cages lined with horse litter.  What you ask.... Yep it is the same stuff as the natural cat litter but in a horse size.  Cheaper too I may add.  If you look into any of this just know you have to stock up when Fall comes around.  They use these same size pellets for pellet stoves so they only make the little so many months a year.  I get mine from several different suppliers.  Tractor Supply and Southern States and a local dealer as well.   In a room of three birds it perfectly keeps the smells down.  It allowed me a much longer time in between cleans while I was working.  But I was starting to get desperate to clean (like I have the other rooms...) all the same. 

As soon as I can I'll be getting out the camera again.  I'm just so focused on scrubbing floors, baseboards and walls all in the opposite order but all the same.  I have not strapped on the camera much less allowed my hands such delicate work thus far.

Yes I will stop talking about all this stuff soon, but it is after all the perfect timing for a good spring cleaning....

So what are you getting rid of?
What are you keeping and Why?

ME? OMG my worst issue at this point is my collection of books and magazines.  If anyone has any idea on what I can do PLEASE LET me know.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Clean Floors

After doing the kitchen... I didn't stop.
 I finished the Dinning room yesterday and started in on the Living room. 
As I sit here it is all a mess. 
All the furniture pushed over close to the front door, everything piled as high as it will go.

So Today I plan to re-arrange the living room as I clean the floors as perfectly as I did the kitchen and dinning room yesterday.

I've already moped the kitchen and dinning room once more today it just feels so good to accomplish such little things. ... Kitchen still good but the dinning room is for the birds at this point... till the end of the month so that is well.... not worth a thing.

But when on a roll just keep on going! Let it roll at full speed and do it the best you can.

So Living room today, after I meet with a horse client to go over weekend needs, after I get back from my horses... I'll put Sweet Pea out; come back start boiling the water... as I do my shipping and billing for another company ... then go back get one horse in, feed them both, brush them both, beat the blankets on the fence (with an antique rug beater) as SweetPea is going to need them again tonight and every night for the next week. 

Figure out what I am going to use to cover all my trees tonight.  I have apples, pears, cherries that will all need protected due to the temperatures going into freezing every night for the next week.  What a spring! We had 60 degree days splattered throughout all the winter months, but now that it is spring... it's freezing temperatures. Whats the big deal? there is not one except that I want fruit this year, but the blankets I normally use for the trees are the ones I use to protect my table and floor from the birds. 

I'll get it figured out... If not I'll just have to make choices!

Life !

Oh well...I'll let you know what we do!
My love to the world.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a little done... and a little more to be done.

Well it is just after 8am and I've cleaned the oven, had one pot of coffee, cleaned out from beneath the sink and then scrubbed the kitchen floor by hand. 

Sounds like a lot but my kitchen floor is old linoleum and is smaller than most closets of todays standards.  So while it doesnt take me forever but today I wanted it all VERY clean.  After 8 months of no real cleaning; all I wanted was the cleaning water to be clear before I stopped and that only took cleaning the floor FOUR TIMES!

Yes all natural ... with brush, sponge, and rag on my hands and knees.
It always starts with boiling water.
Then Borax and natural soap.... to get the hard stuff...  had to do this twice today!
Then on to my vinegar...
Then.... finally on to only boiling water ... I did put peppermint oil in it! Just to ward off any mice that wanted to visit my kitchen.... I switch this up with Orange Oil for roaches!   HEY it's an old house and preventive is the best medicine.

I have birds so I can't use a lot of chemicals.

Oh well on to the real chores... Letting SweetPea out for a few hours, Doing Shipping and doing the same to the Living Room Floor as... I have pet sitting Birds this week along with three horses down the road to care for.  SO ... at least they will allow me a little money for the kids. 

of course I started this post... and lost internet connection so it will be posted hours later... but posted all the same...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Putting it all back together.

While I never stopped pet sitting birds... I turned my horse clients away on a regular basis.
Because it was exhausting to work so many hours...
Because I know I could have never picked up on the little things being so tired.  I could have never done the good job I am used to providing.

While I never told them I was no longer doing such work... I merely explained my schedule was full except for Sunday.  Thus making myself in demand instead of ? well not doing it.

So this week is the first week back into the pet world to make a little money.
Birds come in this week and horses scheduled for this weekend.

I am also going to venture with another pet sitter into helping both she and myself expand our services by providing backup for each other... and I will give her the cats and dogs while she will allow me the farm animals to tend.

So life is getting back on track... Just wish me luck getting it going full speed again.

My love to the world

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

it was HARD to do!

Agreeing to go against my principals.  Shopping at a store that treats its employees like cattle.  That does little for its community.  That puts the little man out of a job.  I wish I didn't have too... but right now this was my best way to make a bad situation easier...

Well today I copped out and did something I rarely ever do.
I went to Wally World...
My dear Father gave me a gift certificate to wally world and today I finally used to to purchase basics, (I've had it sense Christmas... ) but only after going to every local store doing my homework on prices and making sure I only got things we would need and save us money.

What did we get.
Toilet Paper because you can never have too much.
Paper Towels... I use cloth but the hubby has never used anything but the paper stuff. (I try to put them in my compost as much as possible)
Liquid soaps... I use bar but he loves his
Corn meal... I was out and it was cheaper.
Salmon... frozen of course but we love to eat salmon instead of beef, pork or chicken when ever we can.
peroxide yes hydrogen peroxide... can never have too much with me and horses!

But the point is all of this for less than one hundred dollars.  I have a little left over on my card so as much as I hate to admit I'll likely go back to get tomato plants, annual herbs, and soil amenders.

But all these for our stock pile without spending anything thanks to my Daddy!
Love you Daddy... perfect gift!
Perfect day!
My love to the world.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Well here I am again...
As I sit in a dark room typing on this computer...
I formulate a plan.

I took insurance classes, passed, got a job and was working over 100 hours a week... spending money and making nothing for 8 long months.  Someone my age can only dedicate so much energy to the promise land when in fact not being at home cost me more money in my grocery bills.  LOTS more in my gas bills, car maintenance, and clothing (cleaning) bills.

So here I am getting the house back under control.  Getting the animals settled once again. And TRYING to find yet another job that I can do the typical 40 /40 plan... yes... I left out the last forty as I do not have forty years left in my working life.

My plan for the day.
go let one of my horses out to eat pasture to save me some money.
in the two hours I allow her in pasture I will clean the barn and cut horrible wild rose brush from around the estate.  Making my time worth while. 

After that I plan to come home do shipping/ billing/ and take care of the business in my house.

I then plan to get the birds out... caging them one by one in travel cages so I can start to clean their room.
My birds are healthy sooooo.... like chicken poop being one of the best natural fertilizers I will add their mess to my newly created raised beds at the back door so I can start putting a little food at the back door and use my dish washing water as water to keep them alive each day.

What goes into these beds.... Well for the past few months... all my coffee grounds... some bags of feed that got left in the back of my truck when a friend borrowed it for moving months ago.... and any scrap from my kitchen that doesn't contain fat.  Why no fat you ask.... because worms do not like fat!

I want healthy soil for my two tomatoes plants I am planning... my carrots I want to plant for the fall and a few more things I want to keep my kitchen going as long as possible with no more money than necessary.

I have saved my change for years and instead of using it for a travel trip... ( I normally use my change for spending money when we travel)  I will use it to purchase plants for eating this year! All a fair trade I think!

As the sun starts to rise I must get to my chores.  I will check in as much as possible as I look for new work, as I pick up my camera once again and as we ALL struggle a little more than we once did with the economy being what it is.

My love to the world