Friday, October 29, 2010

Loss of Manners

Yesterday My Dear Friend Michelle and I met for one of our muffin dates. We had to meet in a new restaurant,as,alas,our favorite little spot closed because their rent went up and they could no longer afford it. It has been a bit since we have had a muffin date. It's a nice time for the two of us to get together and chat. Though we do communicate via email on an almost daily basis ( neither one of us are big on phone use) we enjoy sitting across from each other to touch base once in a while.

We discuss many things-our interests,our children,etc. We also discuss things that are going on in our country.

Yesterday Michelle told me about one thing that made her blood boil. She was driving along in an area where two lanes merge into one. The right lane is suppose to merge to the left,and she was in the left lane. This "gentleman" driving a Mustang was in the right lane,side by side with her,and instead of falling back and merging behind her,he decided to literally edge her over,so she had the choice of either falling back herself,or going into on coming traffic. ( She obviously opted to fall back rather than getting in a head on collision). This not only happened to her this one time,but a second time in the same day.

This lead to a discussion about the trend in this country right now:lack of decency and manners. We see it everywhere-on the road,in our politicians,and in our media. If you are rude,you get air time. Those who scream the most get the most attention. People can say the most horrible things, things that are not true or filled with hate,and they get rewarded with air time on news channels. We both find very disheartening and appalling. There is no filter anymore. People think they can do and say whatever they want,whenever they want. They don't care who they hurt,or what the consequences of their actions or words are. It doesn't matter. Frightening the public to gain votes is the norm. It doesn't matter if it's lies or not. And,sadly,people actually believe the things that are spewed at them 24 hours a day,seven days a week. News channels have become tabloid channels. There is very little factual news anymore. I used to want to be a journalist- I now mourn the death of a profession that I thought was a very important one-keeping people informed of the truth. Now it's all conjecture,theory,and political partisanship.

People think they are the only ones who matter,whether on the road,or in a line at the store. They have no patience. They think because they are in a hurry,the rest of the world needs to step back and let them through.Is this the legacy we want to leave our children? Use bad behavior to get your own way? Be applauded when you show no respect for anyone or anything? I am shocked at the way some children speak to their parents-and get away with it. It wouldn't fly in my home, I tell you that.

All we can do is keep peace in our homes,teach our children to be respectful of everyone,and have manners. Hopefully in the future that mentality will overshadow the bad behavior and loss of manners that is permeating our world right now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Planning The Day ( Or Lack Thereof)

I have been sadly slacking in my day to day organization. Yes, having a cold has not helped my motivation,but even before that,my enthusiasm was less than stellar. There are projects I could do,but instead of planning out when to do them,I wake up each day and go "OK....what am I going to do today?"My mind always goes to the obvious daily chores,but not the other things that need to be done.

While our garage has been cleaned out,it still needs organizing.Our attic needs a good going over,and now that the weather is cooler it will be more comfortable to work up there. I need to make more candles. Our bedroom still needs a good going over ( though most of what needs to be done is on Rick's side of the room!) We need to start redoing our bathroom and kitchen. I need to start planning for Christmas. There is plenty to do. It just needs to get done.

I am starting to knit again. I don't have wonderful knitting skills,and that is more due to not doing it on a regular basis than anything else. I want to make mittens and have bought a new knitting book.Right now,however,I am practicing my basic knit and pearl stitches by making a simple dishcloth.

Does anyone else have bouts of just doing the bare minimum? If so,what do you do to get yourself motivated to get yourself more organized?

Friday, October 22, 2010

'Tis That Time of the Year...

Each morning,after Zach is off to school,I sit herein front of the computer with my coffee in my Almanzo Wilder Homestead mug and check my emails,then read blogs. Sometimes I check Facebook,but the novelty has worn off on that quite a bit.

I was sitting here,when I happened to glance out the living room windows to my right,when lo and behold,what did my eyes see...but snow. Yep. Snow flurries. It picked up for just a wee bit,then stopped. The sun came out,then went back in behind gray clouds,or as we call them,snow clouds. This time of year,when the sky gets a certain gray cloudy look,you know there is a good chance you will see some snow,whether a small flurry or a quick squall.

Our foliage is pretty much past peak,though my tree that I see out the bedroom window is still changing. I took this photo yesterday:

You can see my favorite branch,but now there are more yellows and oranges around it.I am anxious to see it in all it's Fall finery.

Weds the well company came and began drilling our artesian well. It was quite a sight. We all pulled up a lawn chair and watched them do their magic:
They drilled down a total of 80 ft the first day,with casing put down 50 ft.
The below photo shows the casing of the well They had to come back yesterday,and while I was at the grocery store,they hit water at 260 ft, with water flow at 8 1/2 gallons a minute.We will never have a water issue again. They had to go through rock ledge ( we aren't called the Granite State for nothing!)which is actually what they wanted to do. The black pipe is all you see sticking out of the ground. That's the well. Today they are digging a trench from the house to the well and laying pipe,then they are going to install the water pump in the basement,and do what electrical needs to be done. We will no longer have to use the dug well,though we are going to keep it and put a hand pump on it.

Yesterday I went to the Drs and they think I have a sinus infection,so I am on antibiotics. I also decided to go back on antidepressants. I was on them about 7 years ago,and stopped taking them when we lost our insurance after Rick got off active duty. I haven't felt right in a few years,and I don't know if it's depression (which can cause a myriad of physical symptoms)or perimenopause,but now that Zach and I finally have health insurance again,I am going to find out. I had been previously diagnosed with Premenstural Dysmorphic Disorder and anxiety. I have terrible anxiety and it can cause me to not go anywhere,or even answer a phone or make a phone call. Just the thought of doing things sometimes,no matter how small it may seem to one person can cause me great stress. I tried for a long time to deal with it,but I can tell it's getting worse. I know that everything that has been going on for the last few years has added to it,and I feel very overwhelmed at times. I have a physical and my first mammogram in a couple of weeks. Since Rick was not on active duty or retired for the last 4 years,we were not eligible for Tri care ( military),and we could not afford $500 a month for some of the other insurances that are available in our state. Now that he is retired,both Zach and I can get US Family Health,which is a version of Tri care Prime.I had sent the application in May,but never heard back. Yesterday at the Drs I found out that the military never took the money out of Rick's pension for the insurance,so it was never processed. Now we are all set.We will pay the monthly payment ourselves.

Rick has finally been rated 100 % disabled from the VA,so he has opted to get his monthly disability from them. It's three times the amount he would receive from the military.We just found out this week. So things are finally starting to get settled all around.

Whoops,it's snowing again.......the dark clouds says it all.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thoughts of A Country Woman

I am still being bogged down by this horrible head cold,living on Thermaflu and nasal spray. Hot tea has become my best friend. My appetite is at a minimum. It's just as well, since I can't taste anything anyway.

I felt bad yesterday,because I was going to help Rick clean out our garage for our Fall Pickup.He told me in no uncertain terms that I was to rest all day and do nothing. In all honesty,I wouldn't have been able to help for long,anyway. I did go out and check how things were going,but only for a few minutes. I went back inside,popped the first season of Little House on the Prairie in the DVD player,and laid in bed.( After I washed and folded two loads of laundry)

This was my view:
I took this photo standing in front of the window,not from my actual viewpoint in bed. The brightly colored branch is all I can when I am laying down.I am anxious to see how beautiful the whole tree will be once it's changed colors!

I thought about our lives here and what we have accomplished,and how much more we have to do. I am amazed at how different I am,how my goals in life have changed,and what I deem as important. The woman I am today at 42 is much,much different than the woman I was just 13 years ago when Rick and I got married. Some changes I have had no control over,such as Rick's PTSD and brain injury. This is our "new normal" and I accept that there are days when The Man of the Place will be confused,forgetful,and defer to me for even the smallest decision. He will ask me how to spell simple words,and then question me because the pronounciation doesn't jive with how it's spelled.He will have to have the volume on the TV on odd numbers,no knives can be left on the counter,he will have to put the machete back into the stump three times each time he goes by it.

There are changes that we do have control over,such has our way of life.We make our own laundry soap,hand soap,and candles. I am learning how to knit again,and want to make my own mittens and socks,etc. We have our own chickens,so we can have fresh eggs. We raise turkeys so we can have fresh meat once in a while. We grow our own food. I make my own house cleaners.Our only debt is our house payment,and we own no credit cards,nor do we owe credit cards.I started making bread by hand. We can our own food. We compost. We have rain barrels. We do have an oil furnace,but we mostly use our woodstove. We are constantly evolving.

When we sat down in the beginning of 2009 and discussed what kind of life we wanted,we knew it would not be a destination but a journey. I think this is good for Rick. It keeps him busy,and he enjoys it. He can't work at a regular job,but he can putter around the yard,doing things for his family. He feels productive,because it really bothers him that he can't work.Recently I was asked if I do all these things ( soapmaking,etc) to "keep busy." It can keep me busy,but I do these things because I want to. I want to provide for my family in this manner. It is so liberating to walk down a supermarket aisle and not have to buy ANYTHING in it,and know I am saving money by doing things myself.

One day I was weeding the garden,and Rick and Zach were cleaning out the henhouse. I stopped for a minute and this feeling of great contentment came over me. We were all working together,and it felt great. It felt right. Here's to the continuing journey.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Falling Leaves

Today I am lying a bit low. I started getting aches and chills yesterday,complete with a nagging runny nose ( lovely image,I apologies!)and slight cough. Today,my nose is taking a break,but my coughing has increased a bit and I still feel blah. I did do the morning dishes and swept the house. I replaced the wick from one of my kerosene lamps that has been missing for over a year and polished it's chimney. ( I have several lamps-three in the dining area,four in the living room). I did eat breakfast ( English muffin and oatmeal) but I wasn't very hungry.

I sat down and in my recliner and watched what was going on with Nature outside. The day began as sunny,but the clouds have rolled in and the sun is more in than out . We are expecting a Northeaster ( some will argue that I should be calling it "Nor'easter" in true Yankee vernacular) here that will carry no snow,only rain. Heavy rain.The wind has picked up a bit,putting the fall into Fall...the leaves and pine needles are falling off the trees,and starting to cover the yard.Our cat,Omar ( aka Little O) sat in front of the french doors,watching them with interest for a little while. The colors are pretty much at peak,lots of yellows,reds,oranges,and golds mixed in with the green pine trees. I am constantly amazed at how beautiful it is here and how lucky we are to live where Nature is so close at hand.

The Man of the Place started up the wood stove,and as soon as I smelled the wonderful fragrance of burning wood,I felt contentment. If you have never smelled or felt the experience of a wood stove,especially when sick,you are missing out. It's like a big old hug. Wood stove heat is perfect. I can see the wood stove from my recliner,which is nice,because we have a glass front on our stove,so I can watch the flames. Sometimes Rick and I will sit at the table (the wood stove is in the dining area),chat and watch the flames.

I am now going to go back to my recliner,curl up under a quilt,and watch the flames from the wood stove and the leaves fall outside. I think a good book is in order,maybe a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I hope you have a chance to enjoy what Nature is up to outside your window.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crock Pot Chili

Today I am making crock pot chili. It's the time of year for hearty,stick-your-bones fare.The weather is cool out,and nothing says Fall like a nice bowl of steaming chili on a chilly night. Right now my pinto beans are on the stove,boiling until they soften up.

Here the last harvest of the season.I picked all this on Saturday before I pulled the plants. I went through the tomatoes today to see which ones I could use for the chili. I think we will make some fried green tomatoes with some of the ones which are not ripe yet.I will use the green peppers in the chili as well.

I have started to decorate the front yard with my corn stalks and pumpkins. The only thing I bought was mums. You can't tell in this photo,but there is a pumpkin on each side of the steps and a mum hanging on either side of the door. I do need to buy some spider webs and put my big old spider out.
Crock pot chili is incredibly easy. Here is the recipe I use:
1/4 lb pinto beans
(2) 14 1/2 oz cans tomatoes ( I use fresh tomatoes)
2 lbs ground beef,browned and drained ( you could use ground turkey as well)
1 green pepper,chopped
1 onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic,minced
2-3 tbs chili powder
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
Completely soften beans by cooking in boiling water on the stove. Drain the water off the beans and put all ingredients in the crock pot in the order listed and stir. Cover cook on Low for 10-12 hours,or High for 5-6. Top servings with shredded cheese or sour cream if desired.
The first time I made this chili,I had bought chili powder from a local Asian market.I used 3 tablespoons,as the recipe called for, and it was HOT!!!! We could barely eat it. I now use 1- 1/2 tablespoons of chili. We serve it with shredded Cheddar or Montery Jack cheese and sour cream on top.Corn bread is a great side,and I have also used the chili as a dip with tortilla chips,or crushed the chips and mixed them in the chili. Whatever your heart desires!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Where's the Water?

Saturday our water disappeared.
Yep. The well was empty with the exception of about four inches,way below the suck level.
GONE. All 2,000 gallons that we just had delivered a couple weeks ago.
Apparently,the ground is so very dry that it sucked all our water down into it's depths.
Yesterday the water came back a little,enough so we could at least flush the toilet and wash dishes. We are not going to shower or use the washing machine. Until we get this resolved,it's sponge baths and the laundromat. Today Rick is calling a local well company to see if they can help us figure out if we need to just make our well deeper,or if an artesian well might be in order. Several wells in the area have dried up these last couple of months. There was so little rain this summer,and winter didn't see that much snow. Our water source is either dried up,or blocked by shifting rock. Sigh.

Saturday I cleaned out my garden beds.I picked the rest of my potatoes,tomatoes,and onions. I also had three zucchini I didn't know about. I pulled all the plants,weeds,and raked up the boxes.I don't have a cool weather crop,though we will be planting garlic fairly soon. The weather here in NH is getting cooler,and the sun is not as high as it was,so we don't get a whole lot of sun in the backyard anymore.The red pine trees filter it,making more shade than anything else. The only beds I left were my perennial herbs and the strawberry bed. We are still getting fruit and blossoms on it,believe it or not! Rick did cover them up Saturday and Sunday night. We had a chance of the first good frost,but it didn't get this far south. Zach had a camp out with his Boy Scout troop (they were helping run the Webelo Fall Overnight) and I was worried because the temps up north got down to the low 20's,but he said he was warm enough all night. We did see patches of frost on the way to pick him up starting in Ossipee.

A little yellow kitten has been sleeping in our tree length log pile. It scooted out when the boys started cutting the logs,though.Yesterday morning Brother B went out around 5:00 AM and saw it,but ran into the woods across the street. We didn't see it this morning. If we can get it,we will keep it,it's just a little kitten.It must have been born in the wild,poor thing.

I finally figured out what to do with my sliding glass doors-build a cold weather frame.It won't be done this season,but next year.Our focus is to get the wood cut and stacked.

Today is opening season for turkey hunting,so the boys are going up the road into the woods to see what they can find. We have a lot of turkeys wandering around the area,so hopefully they can get a good shot off. Zach and Rick did see some this AM,but the angle was wrong and brush was in the way.

We must go call the well company....enjoy this Columbus Day!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Things have been busy around here since I last posted. Every day has brought something that needed to be done or somewhere to go. We have gone to the Manchester VA twice this week,for follow up appts and for Compensation/Pension exams. Rick has a few things that the VA has not rated him for yet,so he had an appt in Neurology and another general appointment with a physician that went over the items in question. VA appointments are always draining,especially when there are a hundred questions. Rick will answer what he can,but some things he can't remember anymore (such as everything that happened when he was in the RPG attack). He then turns to me to answer,and some things I can't answer for him. Some things I can. His brain gets tired and he gets confused. Sometimes he can't even remember what unit he was with. Today is his third day completely off morphine,and he is still feeling the effects. His hypervigilence continues to be high,and it wipes him out.

There hasn't been a lot we could do outside the last few days,between appointments and the rain we have been having. I have been able to get my herbs dried,though:
My German Thyme,Greek Oregano,Rosemary,and Sweet Basil are waiting to be used. Fresh herbs smell wonderful,but rolling the leaves between my hands to crumble them up kicked up my allergies.

The above is the view from the front edge of our property,looking down the road. You can see the colors are starting to come in a bit. I took this photo Saturday,and since then the colors have increased quite a bit.

The above is looking up our road on the same day.
Today we are cleaning off our screen porch so we can load wood onto it. Monday we started our furnace for the first time,and last night was our first night starting up the wood stove. We only had a small fire,but it was lovely to look at,and I love the smell of a wood stove. I am also going to pick up some mums for the front yard,and I need to put out my pumpkins.
Yesterday we lost power for an hour and a half,and because it was cloudy out,it was darker than normal at 3:30 PM,so I lit the oil lamps and discovered we need to stock on paraffin oil,and get a new wick for one of the lamps. I lit some candles as well,and do need to get going on making more. We have noticed that the sun goes behind our red pine trees in the backyard earlier now,around 2:30,so the backyard is now shaded sooner. Soon we will go out to the bus stop at 2:50 and the sun will be halfway down the pine trees. Before too long it will be dark at 4:30. Not a big fan of that!

Friday, October 1, 2010

When It Rains,It Pours

Didn't I say in my last post that it was rainy and raw? Well,the raw didn't last and turned into humidity. It has been rainy and humid here the last couple of days,and right now we are on the tail end of a tropical depression that inched it's way up the eastern seaboard.There are flood watches,though mostly in the western part of the state.Tomorrow is suppose to be a much better day,sunny,and cooler.Right now it is down pouring. I love to hear the rain,though.Especially when I am trying to sleep and I can hear it on the roof. Very soothing.

We have been gearing up for winter,working down our list. Wednesday we had our oil tank topped off. Yesterday we had our septic tank pumped out. Then,our well water finally went below the suction level,so we weren't getting any water. This summer has been very dry,and our well was getting low to start with ( we have a dug well). We don't know if the spring that flows to the well has gotten smaller,or if a rock settled in it somewhere blocking the flow,but our well has been getting lower and lower for the last three years. We are not the only ones who have been seeing lower water levels. Happily,our neighbor Darlene had used a company who fills pools,wells,etc,and she gave us their number. He was at the house within 6 hours,and filled our well up. So we now have plenty of wood for three years,a full oil tank,an empty septic,and a full well.

I made pumpkin puree on Wednesday. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I used two Sugar pumpkins (but one at a time). I cut it in half,cleaned out the seeds and stringy goop,then cut it into quarters. I placed the quarters in a microwave dish,with a couple inches of water. I put the lid on the dish,and cooked it for 15 minutes on high. I then cooked it for 10 minutes on high,and the pieces were soft enough to poke with a fork.The rind came off easily,and I attempted to puree it in my blender. I should have known better.That blender never worked well (it was free) and even though the blade spun,it would do nothing (I had a flash back to trying to make icy drinks in vain). I threw it out. I have only used the blender twice in the last 5 years,so spending money to have it fixed wasn't something that popped into my head. A food processor might be a more worthy investment. I used my hand mixer and it worked well. I measured out 1 3/4 cups of puree for each freezer bag ( 1 3/4 cups is roughly 15 oz,the size of a can of pumpkin).Now I have two freezer bags ready for use. The first batch wasn't watery,but the second one was,so I pressed the puree down with my hands,pushing out the water ,and poured the excess down the drain.

Yesterday I began organizing my closet,and finally decided to get rid of clothes that I have been hanging on to in the hope that they will someday fit,clothes that are stained,or clothes that aren't comfortable but bought because I needed something for an occasion. They are piled up in a box,and I am going to bring them to the local CAP office. Now if I can just get Rick to do the same...... :) I do need to go through my genealogy papers,and this winter I am going to finally get all that information onto my family tree maker program. I also need to go through our file cabinet and see how I can improve upon the files. We have mulitple copies of things,because the military would always lose documents.However,we have a copy machine and we really don't need to keep 10 copies of Rick's Purple Heart orders on hand,for instance. We can use any unneeded papers for fire starter,or for scrap paper. Whichever comes first. Again,that will be a winter project.

Right now I am in the process of making gluten free pie crust for an apple pie. The crust has to chill for an hour. While that is going on,I am washing Zach's bedding,then I should do some ironing.One load is in the dryer,the other in the washer.Rick will probably have to roll out the crust,though.Rolling crust and I don't mix. I wind up trying it several times and he always has to rescue me!He seems to have the magic touch.

Well, I need to go get the apples ready,so I should scoot. Have a great day in your place in the world!