Sunday, December 30, 2012

busy, busy

I have neglected my little blog.  It wasn't on purpose.  I have just gotten to a point in my life where I have so much on my plate that something had to give...and relaxing computer related things (like this blog) just does't happen these days like I would like it to.  

Like every other adult, I lead a busy life.  But being busy means something different to me now than it used to.  When I was single, I was busy because I worked a full time job and I biked when I wasn't working. After I got Bear, I was busy with a home to maintain, a husband, taking care of a puppy, cooking meals, working, biking and scrapbooking.  In those days, I was busy, but if I worked hard, I could get to the end of my to do list and relax.  These days...busy takes on a whole new level for me.  No matter how hard or for how long I work, I will never, ever get to the end of my to do list.  

I have all kinds of things vying for my time, like...

Cooking two meals every night.  One for Adam, one for me (with my food restrictions we can't eat the same foods) feeding the dogs.

Since my switch to veganism, I direct my experiments more towards other homesteading endeavors...but even without including animals in there, there is still plenty of other items to experiment with and learn about.  

Biking is a luxury not afforded to me much now that I have 6 dogs...but I can still dream...and hop on the bike when the stars align for me.

Speaking of having 6 dogs, here they are.  They are a handful, to say the least. They must be fed twice a day, the yard has to be mucked at least 3 times a week, if not daily, they all require love and attention, and walks.  Plus the puppies won't even go to the bathroom without someone standing in the yard.  Some need trims regularly, baths...and the house needs extra cleaning because there are so many tracking dirt in.  

I also have church callings I participate in (this cake was for a Scout pack meeting).

Just because it's winter, doesn't mean the garden is asleep.  I have lettuce, collards and carrots still out there. It is certainly less work than a summer garden but it does take some maintenance...and going out and picking the collards for the morning smoothie is sometimes freezing, especially when there's ice on the leaves.

I also like to craft.  I have so many projects lined up...mostly things I want to do for others...but there's plenty for me in there too.   

Lately, this Christmas present was stealing some of my time.  It's all finished now but i have no pictures of it finished yet.  Adam really liked it.  

I enjoy the sesonal changes and like to take a little time to enjoy those.

Some times nature presents wonders to you when you least expect them, like on this foggy Christmas Eve night.  And when it does, I just have to take the time to enjoy it...and run for my camera. ;o)   

Sunrises and sunsets are my weakness and I would waste all kinds of time watching I guess it's good I don't live somewhere I get to really see them.  

Doing favors for friends...

This list is not at all inclusive of the activities that fill my days...(cleaning and Gospel related things are high on that list).... oh, and if you didn't notice, I take pictures of everything....which takes time in and of itself.  Adam is always volunteering to help someone or other and I feel guilty that I am not I often tag along and do what I can.  

Just think...if I got everything I wanted when I wanted them, I would have even more on my plate and I wouldn't know how to cope.  As much as I want what I want now, I am thankful that we have to wait for some things...some times anyway. ;o)

I am thankful though, for time...not the 24 hours in a day kind of time but the kind of passing of time that allows us to learn, to adapt and to stretch.  If I had went from being single, biking hours every day on January 1st then on Jan 2nd I was married with all of my responsibilities I have now, I think my brain and/or my heart may have exploded from the stress.  No, I have had time to grow into my current role....and I think it's trying to teach me patience and endurance...maybe someday I'll get it.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

cat drawing

I have a friend who I only know online.  She has been very generous to me.  I found out recently that her favorite and oldest cat is sick.  So sick that it didn't look like he would live much longer.  As an animal lover I know that not many people understand the deep attachment that we can have to our animals, just as much as you love a child.  As my dogs are getting older, it is not far off that I will be in the same position. Already , sings of age are creeping in and it makes me teary eyes when I think about it.  SO when I heard about her cat, I felt horrible for her and her cat and wanted to do something but drawing a picture was the only thing I could think to do.

It was on a break at work when I started to sketch the basic idea so I used a scrap piece of paper.  But it turned out well enough that I ended up using it and really regretted my decision to not just wait until I was at home with good paper and pencils.  

I worked on it again on my lunch break and on my second break.  I finished with the pencil work on that second break.  Drawings tend to be difficult for me to be happy with.  And while I do not feel this picture is perfect by any means, I felt pretty happy with it.  This was it at the end of the day.  

But I knew there were 2 thins I wanted to do to finish it off.  I wanted to add whiskers and I wanted to color the eye.  The eye was done with 6 different prisma pencils and the whiskers were done with white acrylic paint.  The color is off in the picture below because the light was awful.  The above pic has the right colors.   Anyway, this is a cropped version of the finished drawing.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

When the clock stopped

Not too long after the puppies came to stay with us and the garden was planted, I read an article titled, "You can't have it all".  In it they claimed that American woman were led to believe in a huge myth...that as long as you want something badly enough, and you work hard, that you can have it all.  The article was specifically talking about a happy home life and a big wig type of career.  It highlighted how the woman who had made it to the top and stayed there were the exception, not something that many woman would be able to achieve.  Not for lack of trying but mostly because while men can have high profile careers and family, a woman in that same position is expected to do more at home than a man would be.  A woman would be more concerned with how her child feels when home sick from school where as a man can put those thoughts out of their mind.  There were several examples like that.  I didn't agree with everything they had to say but the ultimate point they were trying to make was that it is extremely difficult for woman to be the superhuman they feel they need to be in today's world and unless the circumstances were just right, they could just be beating their heads against a wall, trying to understand how they could be doing more when they they are already doing so much.

When I read this article, I was completely overwhelmed.  It helped to hear that it wasn't something I was doing wrong...just that there is only so much a person can do.

We have a clock in our living room that has to be wound up every 2 days or it runs out of juice and dies.  We got it from Barry and Lanette and from the day Adam hung it to the day Hansel and Gretel arrived (almost a year), I had only forgotten to wind it once.  The day after they arrived was the day the clock stopped.  It was one of those little things that wouldn't take much time but felt so overwhelming on top of all the other tasks that I had to deal with to keep all of us alive and the house and garden in any semblance of order.

At one point, Adam decided it was time to try the clock again...the day before he went on a business trip.  I told him that I wasn't ready to tackle such a monumental task.  It ran out of juice before he got back and stayed that way.

Thankfully, we are adaptable.  We learn to stretch and grow and deal with things that once seemed impossible.  Time has marched on.  The puppies have been here 6 months now.  It has been rocky and difficult but we have survived and thrived, I think.  Things aren't perfect.  I feel inadequate for all the tasks given to me...and all the tasks I wish to take on on top of those.  But time has marched on, like I said, and I am proud to say that my clock has been showing that passing of time for a month now.  I am getting the hang of caring for 6 dogs, a home, a garden, full time work, biking, and even finishing some projects along the way.   I am no super woman.  I will never have it all, just like the article was talking about.  It's hard sometimes for me to admit that...but I am learning to accept it and trying my best with my human limitations.  My life isn't perfect...and I would change some details of it if I had the opportunity but I really can't complain.    I have a good life.  I love and am loved.  I am blessed beyond what I deserve.  I am constantly shown tender mercies of the Lord.  I don't have it all...but I have enough.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

reclaimed wood table

I was very fortunate a couple of weeks ago to make, from beginning to end, a reclaimed wood table.  I have been wanting an outside table and now I finally have one!  It's in the front yard but tucked away so most people can't see it.  I love making things with wood but my husband didn't believe I had enough skill to make anything useable (despite the fact that I have made a couple pieces of furniture in the past, including a large bookcase after we were married and 11 years later, it still is as sturdy as when I made it).  So this time, I waited until he was out of town so I could make it.  

I started by making a 2x4 frame for the top.  We already had all the wood for that.  I then laid all my reclaimed 2x2 slats under the frame.  I used paint sticks as my spacers.  I drilled the pilot holes for each screw in one board, then screwed the screws in.  I moved the spacers and worked on the next board until I was finally done.  Below, I had just left the room for a second to make a cut and I came back to find Hansel had taken over the rug that was acting as my knee pad.  Little stinker.

The top is HEAVY!  I carried it up to the front yard on a furniture dolly.  Some of the boards did not get screwed down tight so I unscrewed them, clamped it down and rescrewed for each board that needed tightening.

I screwed on the legs and added the apron boards.  I flipped it over and cleaned it off.

Using it right away for a garden harvest photo op. :o)  

It took every evening from Wednesday to Saturday to finish and it was worth it.  It is super solid and the top is very flat.  My husband is impressed...and is excitedly waiting for me to make benches for it. I am so excited to finally have a table!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

and another week...trying to stay on top of it all

So here is more of a peek into my days recently.  

Homemade salsa using tomatoes from my garden.

Walnut "meat" using walnuts, cumin, coriander and tamari (a wheat free soy sauce).  I used it for a few different things.

Here's one dish I used the "meat" in.  It just steamed green beans (from my garden), homemade tomato sauce and walnut meat.  

Here's an occassional treat I enjoy.  It's a frozen banana, cocoa, peanut butter and almond milk.  I also make this into ice cream by using less milk.  I really enjoy it but Adam couldn't stand it.  

I was weeding the carrots and accidentally pulled these two little guys.  They're so tiny!!

Here are all the different tomatoes (the full sized ones at least) I am growing.  L-R: German Queen, Black Krim, Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple and Big Rainbow.  They are all heirloom varieties.  My favorites are the Cherokee purples and the black krims.  

My crock with pickles fermenting in it.  I had to throw out an entire crock full.  I messed up and it molded.  Yuck!  This is the second crock full.

The crape myrtle in the evening light.

My flower garden has only marigolds and petunias so far.  I LOVE seeing them when I pull up each day.  

Here's an eggplant bloom.  

A purple carrot.  I love the contrast.  I planted a mix of colors (purple, red, orange and yellow).

All my cucumbers cut and ready to start fermenting.

The marigolds really remind me of my childhood as we had a lot of them and my grandma did as well.  I love smelling them.

And I get to see some of the Olympics now...Adam hooked up the antennae a few days ago.  However, it's making me stay up even later than I already have been.  No good.  But I am glad I get to see it.  I have finally given up on my Olympic dreams.  lol  I am to old and I know it...not to mention I don't put in the training I would need.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A busy week

It has been a whole month since my last post...I have no idea where to start.  So I'll just start with what has been going on this past week.Life is crazy hectic right now.  Keeping up with the garden is a lot more work than I expected!  We still have the puppies and it looks like they're here to stay.  Adam is sure of it....I am still having trouble accepting that fact, even though I love them...6 is just a LOT!!  While I was preparing for and attending girl's camp, I got behind in house chores as well as the garden.  I have slowly but surely been catching up.  

The crape myrtle started blooming.

Dog milk bones made for a friend's dogs.  (Mine got the left overs.)

Sourdough bread made for friends.

My first big haul last Saturday.

This is raw "spaghetti".  The noodles are made from zuchinni and the sauce is tomatoes, a date, herbs, oil and garlic. It was SOOO good.

This was yesterday, I think.  

My first little eggplant!  Another even smaller one in the background.

Heirloom tomatoes are starting to come in.  For some reason, everyone's tomatoes are cracking this year.  

Our first watermelon.  Not quite ripe, unfortunately...but good nonetheless.

Best friends.  

I made a batch of dish washing detergent and a batch of laundry detergent.  I started using Dr. Brommer's lavender soap in my laundry detergent and I love the smell.

The weather outside has been very hot, perfect for rising bread dough.  The best rise I've had in a long while.  

So, that's some of what's been going on here this week.  I hope your week went well.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Just a quick post here as I am falling asleep.  We have been working on integrating the puppies in order to get things slightly back to normal around here.  The efforts are paying off.  Tucker absolutely loves Hansel...well both of them but Hansel is the player and Tuck really likes to play.  Gretel has injured her leg so she mostly just lays there (she's going to the vet on Monday).  But almost 24 hours a day, you can hear Tucker and Hansel having a great time.

It may not look like it, but they're just playing.  

The picture is horrible but I thought it was fun anyway.  All 4 were running around in circles chasing each other.

Tucker lays with Gretel sometimes.  He likes her too.

I was on my computer one evening and this is what I was surrounded by.  They make it really hard for me to make my sprained ankle comfortable sometimes.

Bear has made me so proud!  I thought for sure he'd eat one of the puppies but he has been on his best behavior.  He has growled at them a few times but I think he realizes that they're little and can't take the punishments he gives to Jack and Tucker.  He doesn't like them by any stretch of the imagination but he has been a good boy.

I just thought this pic was really funny.  He's not really inside Tucker's mouth.  ;o)

All 6 together.  Sometimes it seems like there are 12 dogs in the house while others, it doesn't seem like anymore than we had before.

Pretty puppies all in a row.  It was over 100 degrees today and the dogs lazed about all day.

So there you have's about all I could muster.  I took a lot of cool pics today...and in the last few weeks but I can never quite find the time upload them.

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