Monday, April 30, 2012

Working, working, working

Hmm, let's see.  The yellow jacket sting.  I left the tea bag on overnight then had to take it off.  The tea was starting to irritate the skin.  I got a hard spot slightly larger than a nickel on the bottom of my foot and the leg throbbed all day from ankle to knee.  But by the next day it was all good.  Now the bottom of my foot itches as it deals with any leftover toxins and heals.  And not the type of itch you can scratch.  Oh, and the sting entrance is very visible now.  BTW, this works for me but I have no idea if it will work for you.  Try at your own risk. 

But on to better things.  Pints of caramelized cream of onion soup are done.  Mangoes are in the dehydrator.  More roses and honeysuckle were picked - this time for mead.  And my son's playhouse had a makeover.

The playhouse was frustrating.  Due to a tree falling the roof really, really, really needed replacing.  But the carpenter bees had also decided that they liked it.  We didn't build it, it came with the house, so I had no way of knowing what quality of lumber was used.  We ended up pulling all the shingles and plywood off.  On the main part of the playhouse we found metal roofing.  For over the porch, it was all wood and it was going bad due to the bees, ants and termites.  So we pulled out the sawzall and a demolition blade after it was apparent that the porch roof was an addon.  And down came the porch roof.  Oh boy, we made those bees mad!  And I wish I had a camera to take a picture of how big my son's eyes got as the roof section crashed over.

After that it was relatively simple.  The metal had too many holes but it served as a good base.  We laid 3/4" exterior plywood, and then reroofed with the roofing panels my Dad found.  Basically shingles molded into a sheet like tin.  It worked and we got it done.  Then I got to clean up.  Ugh!!!  Fortunately most of the nails did not come off with the old roofing so hopefully I got all that did come off.  Although I'm thinking about taking my tool wrist magnet and doing a sweep with it.

And I have a lovely sunburn on my shoulders and back from spending the entire day outside.  I had gotten up way early to do outside things and we didn't finish the playhouse until 4 or so.

But I also got the counter around the dehydrator cleaned off.  And the hinges on the garden shed have been replaced.  And the edging for between the front porch and house got put on.

So more dehydrating to do.  Maybe more mangoes if Aldi's has another sale.  And painting outside.  And now I really, really, really need to get some more garden beds done.  It's getting hotter and the last frost date was two weeks ago!

It's going to be a busy week.  Hopefully, it will be a calm week.  Fingers crossed.  Here's hoping you have a calm week as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hi again!

Well, let's see.  Yesterday was hectic and busy, so I didn't get a chance to stop by here.   Munchkin had a blast at swim, as did I.  I didn't have to hover over him so I got some down time.  I met another homeschool mom who just joined the group.  We seem to have a lot in common.

I got thirty one 8 oz jars of cream of onion soup and one 4 oz jar.  Now I'm working on the pints.  After that, any left will be caramelized and then dehydrated so that I can experiment with a dried mix to duplicate the canned mix.  The other recipes and dehydrated items will have to be done with a new bag of onions.  So it's official, I have to try to grow `100 lbs of onions if I want to take care of our needs from our own garden.  I'll see how much we get this year and then calculate for enough space next year.

And today I got to meet the lone yellow jacket in my yard.  I have a bad reaction to most stinging insects but my reaction to yellow jackets is particularly bad, only pure black hornets cause a worse reaction.  And this one got me on the bottom of my foot.  I've already applied the TNT tea bag.  And that helped a lot.  The random sharp shooting pains from the sting stopped almost immediately.  And now, 3 1/2 hours later, some swelling is showing.  I'm about to go rebandage the foot so that the tape doesn't dig into the swelling.  All in all this is a good reaction level.  I normally have the pains for hours (and they spread much further) and the sting will cause extreme swelling within the hour.  Last time my hand looked like a baseball because I took the teabag off too soon.  This teabag, or another, will stay on through the night with another one replacing it in the morning.  I can tolerate hobbling but if my foot decides to resemble a basketball I have to go to the ER.  I don't want to go to the ER.

And then I sliced my thumb on the mandoline while doing onions.  I wasn't paying attention and my thumb was in the wrong spot.  Geez.  It's a good size slice but it's stopped bleeding and I've gotten it trimmed up and bandaged. 

I swear, after the spider bite last week, this is three for personal injury.  That bloody bite turned nasty before I got it all cleared out.

Anyways, here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.  I still have to find the clothes that munchkin decided he didn't want to wear today.  He took them off outside and I've searched the entire yard and can't find them.  They'll probably show up - right after I mow over them.  Ahh well. 

Again, hoping for a better day tomorrow but today wasn't bad - just not good.  Here's hoping that you are having a better day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Ok, first, I'm laughing at myself because I forgot to title the last post.  Oops.

Now on to multitasking.  This has always been one of my better skills.  And one that my employers have loved because I could get a lot of work done - effectively and efficiently.  And nowadays it serves me well at home - when it's working.  For the last two weeks it's only been working sporadically which has resulted in me being majorly frustrated.

Well today it's been working in spades!  I started the day with finishing up dishes and making blueberry muffins.  Then we got lessons done.  Then I got onions caramelizing in the oven.  And then started laundry again.  Then I moved outside and got 2/3 of the lawn done.  Then lunch and more lessons.  Then back to onions to make "cream of" onion soup for canning.  Now one batch of that is in the canner while the other batch is in prep.  And all the extra canning jars from the house are now in storage while needed ones came in and got cleaned.  And several loads of dishes.  Basically it's been nonstop in a very, very good sort of way.  Oh, and my son's pool is full again.  And there's more to do, but since I don't wish to jinx myself I'll stay quiet until those things are done.

I'm looking forward to having "cream of" onion soup on the shelves again.  We ran out over two months ago and I've quickly come to realize just how much of it we use.  I'm not sure I'm growing enough onions to support this level of canning this year.  So next year I'll have to plant more, or see if I can grow a second crop through the winter.  Or possibly - both.  This batch is being made using onions from Sam's Club.  I got a 50 lb bag.  So I will need to grow 50 lbs of onions, or more, for the year.  That would make the cream of onion soup and, hopefully, the powdered onion.  I should know by the end of next week.  I'm thinking I might actually need 100 lbs.  Wow!  That's a lot of onions.  (Oh, I'm not anywhere near through the entire 50 lbs yet.  Only about 1/3 of the way.)

Yes, I make my own powder onion, and dried minced onion.  There's an amazing taste difference between the homemade and the store bought.  The first time it was an experiment, and a way to get some extra chopped onions off of my hands.  The difference was so drastic that now it's a standard.  I love and appreciate my dehydrator.  It has been as wonderful a source of good unique food as canning has.

By the way, the "cream of" onion recipe is not mine so I don't feel right sharing it.  If you are interested, drop me a line and I will share the information on the canning group where I obtained the recipe.  They have been the source for many useful, and unique, canning recipes.

So back to my ultra productive day.  I'm loving it!  I hope you are having a good day as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today has been interesting, and good.  This morning the last of the clog in the drain broke free.  I checked under the house to make sure it wasn't the repair and it didn't appear to be.  I'll check again in a couple of days. 

So I got the dishes done this morning, and all the dish pans.  The dish pans will go back into storage for now and my countertop will be clear again.

And laundry is going.  The clothes lines are full and will probably be that way for a couple of days.  I'm not only doing the current basic laundry but redoing the linens.

I am so, so, so grateful to be able to use my washing machine again.

Then I got two batches of honeysuckle jelly done.  And major house cleaning done.  And I'm headed back into the kitchen to do either onions or mangoes, or maybe both.

Oh, and part of the fun I forgot to mention was that my computer crashed on Sunday.  Or more accurate to say, Windows messed up installing an update and crashed the computer.  And no form of repair worked.  So I reinstalled everything.  As of noon today most of the programs are back up and running.  I know I have to go relocated at least one online but then we'll be good.

Today is a good day.  A very good day so far.  Here's hoping that you are also having a good, or better, day.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I swear everyone I know is falling victim to jinxes.  And not good ones.  So here's hoping that things go better for all of us.

I have a working drain again.  Well...somewhat working.  A gallon of Liquid Plumbr, a gallon of Drano, and 3 bottle of foaming pipe snake later the drain is working better but not well enough for doing dishes or laundry.  So tomorrow I'll get more and keep going until whatever is blocking the way is gone.  Geez - it's a pain.

Otherwise, nothing new going on because the focus for the weekend was getting the pipe fixed, then getting the drain cleared.  And cleaning up the mess made from fixing the pipe.  We had to go through the kitchen floor which required unmounting the countertop and moving cabinets.  We had to do two holes because the first one was on the wrong side of the joist from the line break.  And of course the cordless drill had to burn out.  But after about 5 hours we had the patch done, the floor fixed and the "construction" mess cleaned up.  That left me to clean back up the cabinets and everything that had been pulled out of them.  So yesterday was cleaning all the spices, and repacking them where necessary.  I couldn't just put them back since they were already out.  Now all of them are packed in glass.  And I threw quite a few things out.  I'm still not sure where the half gallon canning jar of powdered milk came from.......we don't have milk here due to allergies.  I think it was left over from some Christmas gifts a few years ago.

Then I had to clean the "pots and pans" cabinet.  And then get the shelf back in, bowed side up.  Then going through all the stuff and deciding how/what was going in the cabinet.  And then the stuff from the top of the fridge.

Geez - I haven't generated this much trash in months!  Of course, Dad added some as well.

All of this after fixing dinner and helping my boy with the hormone mood swings.  I was pretty tired by the time his bedtime rolled around, so I crashed at the same time.

And then today was the true cleanup.  All the extra containers from spices had to be washed.  And since the drain isn't working, I'm still on the bucket detail for dishes.  And then getting the recycling moved.  And then mopping.  And I'm still debating what things are going back on the regular countertop.  I'd like to say nothing but I use my mixer too much.  But I may swing it so that the mixer is the only thing that stays on the countertop.  But I can't leave things where they are because that's where my canning goes to cool off.

So no taste testing tomorrow because no canning got done.  But hopefully I will get said canning done tomorrow now that everything else is getting caught back up.  Now if we can just get the hormonal mood swings to stop.  Ahh well, part of raising a child.

I hope everyone is having better days than I am.  And I hope that I will be having better days - effective immediately. 

Bye now!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Water, Water, Water

And the big leak is fixed!  So lots of things to get done.  Unfortunately, the drain is clogged.  So before we get things done, we get to run to the store.

We went to the thrift store sale today - 50% off.  I got my son some more shorts since he's in a growth spurt. 

Otherwise today has been spent taking care of the leak.  We had to go through the floor in the kitchen to reach it.  That made for lots of interesting things - like moving cabinets.  Maybe more later but I'm just so happy that the leak is fixed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Bathtub Stomp

He, he, he.........  you know that yesterday went sideways quickly already, right?  That's my life.

So laundry.  I had a couple of options here.  The first was to go to my parents house and spend all day doing laundry there.  The second was to go to the local laundromat.  And the third was to figure out how to do it at home, without using the machine. 

Soooo, the problem with the first option was multiple.  First was the gas to get there.  Second was spending all day twiddling my thumbs while waiting for the machines to do the laundry.  Sure, I could get my son's lessons done, watch a few movies, go swimming............or I could haul my onions and mangoes with me and prep them while doing laundry.  That last option was actually the one I was going for except the gas issue.  It would be approximately $15 in gas to get to and from my folks house - not money I have right now.  And I have to go to their house next week.  So going today was out.

The laundromat.  Well the good news is that there is one close by.  The bad news is that there is no way I would take my son inside there for more than say - 10 minutes - and it is the "hangout" for some folks that I wouldn't trust to stay out of my laundry when I'm not there.  And again, I'm flat broke - no joke, maybe some change at the bottom of my purse broke.  And that change has been gone through enough that if there's any silver I'd be amazed and grateful for the miracle.

So, we are going with option number 3, with a side of option number 1.  Since I have to go to my folk's house next week, and I will be there for at least 4 hours, I will save towels and some of the bigger items to go with us.  And any regular dirty laundry that we generate between now and then.

So laundry.  Again.  Now normally I can do two, max three loads, a week and we are good.  But, of course, since I can't use the machine Uncle Murphy has had to jump in and jinx us.  So my son has been having bathroom problems.  End result - lots of linens and clothes to wash.  And with his accidents, the cats have just had to chime in their two sense whenever possible (cats have been getting thrown outside a lot lately!). 

But this has definitely been a learning lesson in just how difficult laundry could be to do if TSHF for the entire world, not just my own personal SHTF.  I love reading PAW fiction but the attitudes toward doing laundry have always amused me.  The posts on forums boards are even more amusing.  They bring to mind a scene in which someone gets the receiving end of a cast iron pan and then gets to spend the day chained doing laundry.  All so that they will get their rear end moving on coming up with something more realistic and practical.  (And dude, I am so not getting in between you and your SO when they decide to do this.  I do not get in between someone with cast iron and their target.  And I definitely do not interfere with chains.  I have no wish to spend the day beside you.  I've got my own laundry to do.)

But silly scene aside, this has given me some real practical insights into what would become mandatory if you had to do laundry without machines.  And a few fun thoughts on making it easier.

Now effective sorting and pretreating just became mandatory.  You sort not just by color, but by degree of dirtiness.  The least dirty and lightest get washed first, moving down towards the darkest and dirtiest.  Yes, you'll have to empty and refill basins a few times but that will make the most of your water.  Pretreating would be two basins - one for simple stains that are soaped and soaked and another for "black water" issues which typically involve kids or severe stains (in my case this is an oxyclean soak with very hot water).

First, a waist high table that will hold two sets of two large wash basins side by side.  The large galvanized tubs.  And a waist high wash tub with a fire pit underneath.  That's for anything that can be reasonably done by hand - shirts, undergarments, kids clothes, etc.  The first basin is wash.  The second rinse.  The third rinse.  Then repeat, either was or rinse as necessary.  By the time you've rinsed the first two times you'll know which clothes still need more.  Oh, and the garden hose provides a wonderful final rinse that makes sure everything is clean.

Second, two kiddy pools.  Or two above ground mini ponds that can be easily drained if your going for permanent that looks good.  Either way this would replace the bathtub stomp I've been doing.  Outside pools would be wonderful for this.  First because all the water would be outside!  Second because you can trick the kiddies into helping by playing.  Heck it's even more fun for adults when you view it as playing.  Adult clothes, large clothes, towels, sheets can be done in them.  Fill with warm water and soap, then stomp and splash away.  Move items to the second tub without soap and play away again.  Then hang items on the line and rinse with garden hose.  (If SHTF then mount a couple of 55 gallon drums up high and use them as rinse cycle.)

Third is for the truly lazy, and for the truly large items - like comforters and quilts.  These are things that just become obscenely heavy and difficult to move when wet (these are the things going to my folk's house).  It's for the truly lazy because you could possibly do all your laundry this way if you could rig large enough a cistern.  But it'd be a major waste of water.  Anyways, the third way is to get a siphon attachment for your garden hose, or one of those MiracleGro attachments, and figure out how much soap to put in for cleaning.  Then hang the large items and wash with the hose.  Make sure to flip them and get all sides.  Then disconnect the siphon and rinse - twice - remembering to flip.  The kids would probably love to help with this as well.  It'll probably end up being a major water fight.

And a wonderful thought, that would make drying go faster, would be to attach a dryer tub to a bicycle set up.  Set the tub up high so the it can act as a sprinkler.  Then put the wet clothes in the tub and have the kids go for a ride.  Water fun for the kids, watering for the garden, reduced drying times for the clothes.  Hey that's got three good things going for it.

Now, you know that I don't have these things - this was just brainstorming.  But I'm making do with what I have and getting laundry done.  I'm going to be oh so happy when that bloody leak is fixed!  But until then, I making do with as much fun and laughter as I can arrange.

I hope you all are having a fun filled day as well (without Murphy and his jinxes)!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And Nothing Got Done...

Good Morning!  Despite the title, things did get done yesterday.  Just not the things I had mentioned doing. 

I got into the kitchen and started cleaning.  Now this involves clearing the counter tops from the clutter that inevitable gathers because the kitchen is a high activity area for us.  So things got separated and put away.  Then the paper board and other items that needed it went through the shredder.  Which, of course, resulted in me having to empty the shredder twice.  Annoying because so much had built up but good because I was running out of mulch for the garden beds.  Then all the canning that had piled up on the sideboard had to get put away.  (I have a bad habit of getting it done to the point of the jars are cleaned but then waiting to get everything labeled and into the pantry.)  Then the sink got fully emptied, which is annoying at the moment because there is a water leak under the house right by the sink.  So I'm washing in basins and having to take the water to the toilet to dump it.  Some of it is going outside to water plants.  Anyways, back on track, then everything I could do got scrubbed.  By then end the only thing that wasn't scrubbed was the oven and the floor.  And my spine made it very, very clear that if I tried that I wouldn't be walking for the rest of the day - so I stopped.

But my brain wouldn't let me do any canning because the kitchen wasn't as clean as I wanted it.  So instead I started repacking sugar into mylar bags.  A couple of weeks ago Publix had a really, really good sale on sugar - especially when mixed with the coupon available.  Since we are on such a tight budget, and I knew I wanted to start selling canned goods at the farmer's market, I stocked up.  But I hadn't had a chance to get it put into mylar.  Packing in mylar is kind of necessary for me because I have a lot of ants on the property and I don't want them in my food.  So all the food in the pantry is sealed thoroughly.  For sugar it's easiest to put it in mylar bags.  I use one gallon bags because that is more than enough to last my son and I for a while.  Anyways, since the counter tops and sideboard were clear, I got a lot of repacking done.

Before I knew it, it was 4 o'clock and I was having to fix dinner.  I'm not sure where the day went.  I'm sure part of it was spent with the mini training sessions with the dog.  And a little more with the child attack/snuggle/pounce sessions.  But still, I had hoped to get more done.  But by the time dinner was made and eaten, it was time to focus fully on my son again.  And my spine had made it clear that I wasn't going to do much more on my feet.

I don't think I'll get to any of the canning today.  We have a homeschool co-op activity that runs from 10 - 12, which means that we'll be leaving at about 9:15 and getting back at about 1.  That's just how it goes.  So this morning I'm going to get a load of laundry done, hopefully.  That leak near the kitchen is because of the HE washing machine so I can't use the washer right now.  So each batch of laundry is being done in the bathtub and then hung on the outside line.  If I could find out how much water the machine actually puts out, I would just switch the drain tube to a big barrel.  But I haven't had the time to go hunting that information.  When we get home, I'll get more laundry done and mow the backyard.  If my spine has truly forgiven me today I'll get the kitchen completely done this evening.  Then I can do canning tomorrow.

And hopefully this weekend, Dad and my brother will be able to get up here to help with the leak.  I know Dad is coming but my brother is up in the air.  And even if we figure it out, it'll easily be another week before the crawlspace dries out enough for someone to consider going under there.  But at least now it is drying out.  What a mess.  My folks gave me their old HE machines hoping to help me reduce my bills.  None of us were aware that older, smaller drainage lines would have a problem with the force of the water as it came through.  We know where the leak is, but getting to it is a whole 'nother story.  My crawlspace is only 11" high in most areas! 

Ah well, we will get it figured out and fixed. 

So I'm off to another busy day.  And as you'll get to know, my days rarely go as planned so I'm sure that tomorrow will tell the tale of what didn't get done today, and maybe why.    I hope you have a good day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Ok, on Monday I did my grocery shopping trip.  Now since I was shopping 30 minutes away and going to 4 stores this was a planned excursion.  Gas is too expensive for me to not plot trips.  So off we went to Aldi's, Sam's Club, Earth Fare and Publix.

Aldi's netted me grounded turkey, BLSL chicken breast, strawberries and mangoes - all at fabulous prices.  Sam's Club provided vinegar, baking powder, frozen blueberries, and 50 lbs of onions.
Earth Fare was the source for safe food coloring for us, as well as a couple of bags of gluten free flour, safe tortilla chips, puffed sorghum and puffed rice.
And last, but definitely not least, was Publix with a fabulous sale on Meow Mix that netted me another 3 or 4 month supply for the cats.

Yesterday the chicken was repackaged, vacsealed and frozen.  And the cat food was repacked into bottles and buckets.  That was all I got to do in regards to food stuff yesterday.  I did get a lot of cleaning around the house done since the weather didn't allow for much outside time.

So the plan for today was to make strawberry jam and get the mangoes into the dehydrator, along with creating a new garden bed for the tomatoes.  But this plan required several other projects to start with.  First for me to get all the miscellaneous tools and items that had accumulated around the dehydrator put back where they belong.  Second for the kitchen to get a top to bottom scrubbing because the strawberry jams are going for sale at the farmer's market.  And I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was nil chance of any type of contamination.  I have some high quality standards.

Well waking up this morning put a nix on the kitchen scrubbing for today.  My spine is screaming and all my lower back muscles are cramping - not good conditions for going up and down.  So the plan is altered.  But the decisions to make regarding altering....  Well, putting in a new garden bed is out for the same reason that a top to bottom kitchen scrubbing is out.  But cleaning around the dehydrator is still possible.  So I'm shifting to working on the items that are for home.  The kitchen will get scrubbed at countertop level and as far up/down as my back will permit.  Then mangoes are going in the dehydrator.  Also, onions will be sliced and set in the oven to caramelize.  If the space permits, I'll be doing two big roaster pans.  Then they will get pulled and turned into "cream" of onion soup and canned.  I think that's all that I can fit into today but I'm hoping that maybe I can also get a second batch of caramelized onions done that will be canned as plain onions. 

The onions were recipes that I tried for the first time last year.  I found them to be so incredibly helpful (and tasty) that we have run out of them.  And for me that has been amazingly frustrating.  It was so wonderfully to be able to throw a dish together quickly by being able to grab onion soup or caramelized onions off of my pantry shelf.  And more so because these things were so incredibly inexpensive to make when safe purchased versions are so expensive - if they can be found at all.  I have to adapt for 12 food allergens in our diets.  Actually, it's 13 if you include my reactions to MSG.  And safe foods are hard for us to find.  These allergens are why Earth Fare is part of our grocery shopping despite how much more expensive items are there.

So anyways, I think telling you about this has cleared my head about what I am doing today.

Oh, and lest you think that I've been lazy so far today, we've already made blueberry muffins for breakfast, washed all the dishes and done our homeschooling lessons.  Life is very nonstop around here.  Off to work.  I hope you are having a wonderfully productive day as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Garden?

We've been in this house for 4 years now.  It takes me a while to get a feel for a house and it's land before I can get started on gardens, or other projects for that matter.

In the first year I cleared out a wall of invasive hedges at the back of the house and put in an herb garden.  That didn't work so well.  So sometime this spring I will be digging all the weeds back out and replanting herbs.  Lessons learned and all of that.

In the second year, I cleared one small area in between the garden shed and the play house.  That area became the home to two raspberries and a few asparagus.  Only one asparagus is surviving.  I'm going to have to review the decision for that area because it gets a lot more shade than I realized.  In another spot I planted three Mars grapes with strawberries underneath.  As long as I get bird netting over them this year I should get a really good harvest.  I also planted two cherry trees, one bing and one tartartian.  The birds and I will be fighting over those as well.

In the third year I pulled the invasive hedges most of the way down one side of the house.  I then replanted with Golden Eumonyus most of the way.  And climbing roses were planted in front of the bathroom window.  All of these plantings were done far enough away from the house that they can grow in fully and not crowd against the house.  As of this spring those plants are doing wonderfully.  And I tried a vegetable garden bed along that side of the house.  That failed - fantastically so!  Oh, and I added two pear trees.

So here we are in spring, at the end of year 4, and I've been busy.  The climbing roses now have a trellis.  And those roses have gotten pretty big.  They are beautiful.  And at the base of the climbing roses is one carpet rose.  I'm hoping to take cuttings and make matching plants this year.  The entire area in front of, or near, the bathroom window will be a blanket of vicious thorny plants that look beautiful and screen the view of that window.  (The window is IN the shower!) 

Right now the strawberry runners are all being moved back into the strawberry bed.  When the bed is so full that no more are reasonable I will start moving the runners so that the berries can grow wild around the yard.  That way the animals can have a share when they can't get to mine.  I'll also pot them up so that I can sell them at the farmer's market next year.

I have 5 varieties of mint growing in planters right now.  And spearmint that went wild.  I'm going to nurture them all.  Again so that I can split and pot them for sale at the farmer's market next year.

Since vegetable plants don't seem to do well directly in the ground, I have already built 4 raised beds.  And the tire potato tire has started.  Beans, lettuce, greens, onions, garlic, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are already in the beds.  Hopefully, later this week I will get another raised bed completed.  That bed will get this year's tomatoes.  And then two more full sized beds are planned.  Along with three half sized bed.  That should provide us with enough crops for both fresh eating and canning.  In addition I'm trying for two peach trees, two plum trees, two beds of muscadine grapes, a bed of blackberries, and multiple blueberry bushes.

Oh, and by the way, all of this on just under 1/3 acre with 5 large water maples and one super size tulip poplar.  It gets interesting when I figure out where things can go.  Wish me luck!

From Surviving to Thriving

If you're reading this first post then you probably have no clue who I am.  And that's ok.  Some days I'm not so sure that I know who I am.  But I started this year by making a promise to myself that we were going to move from "surviving" life to "thriving" in life.

We have been surviving for years.  Getting by, little by little, with lots of prayers to help us through the problems that are a continual part of life.  Some big things, some little things, but we were struggling just to deal with it.  I decided that we had done enough surviving, we were going to learn how to thrive.

That decision seems to have been some sort of jinx.  Or maybe the fates decided that I needed stronger motivators.  Regardless, in the months since that decision, I've become very grateful that I had already started on this path.  Life has dealt us some really nasty blows.  I'm waiting for the balancing good things to occur because they would be mighty appreciated around here.  But starting on the path doesn't mean that we are anywhere near ready to handle the stuff that got thrown at us.  I'm very thankful for the help that has been coming our way.  And very hopeful that we will find our way out of this mess quickly.

So on this blog I will try to tell you what we are doing, how we are doing it, and why.  Maybe some of it can help you.  We are starting this journey with an income of less than $1000/month.  And we is myself and my disabled child.  I find myself hoping that this blog tells a wonderful story as it goes on because I don't want it to go any other way for us.