Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Child's Interpretation

Whew, after a full week of rest from canning and preserving, I was ready to start working again yesterday preparing our Thanksgiving Dinner.  Most families have Thanksgiving Dinner on the Sunday, however since we had a couple of birthdays to celebrate today, we decided to have our special dinner yesterday instead.

About an hour before the guests arrived and while the last of the pies were baking in the oven, I thought I would relax a bit in a warm bath. 

Ava had been playing with her dollhouse in my sewing room and suddenly marched into the bathroom to inform me of what she intended to wear for dinner that evening.  She had wanted to wear her "Sleeping Beauty" princess costume - long dress, long sleeves.  Given that the warm weather we had that day with the humidex closer to 30 degrees celcius, I suggested that she may want to wear something with short sleeves instead.  Well, apparently that was the wrong thing to tell an almost 4 year old who wanted to "dress and impress".

A series of headspinning shrieks came out of her mouth.  So much for the relaxing bath!
I said to Ava "it looks like we have a bit of a conflict on our hands".  I was not prepared for what happened next...

She held up her hands in the air for me to see and said "Look mama!  No I'm don't".  My lovely daughter was showing me that she had absolutely no conflict or anything else on her hands whatsoever.     

Well, I started to laugh and she looked puzzled, not entirely certain of what I found to be so funny.  This was enough of a distraction that she forgot all about the princess dress and ended up wearing a cute t-shirt and breezy summer dress.  In the end, everyone was happy.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Wilke Reflection of the Week
***Each week, our family takes time to pause, reflect and appreciate a special moment in our lives.  We would like to share this reflection with you.
Collecting Autumn Leaves

Sunday, 2 October 2011

All Canned Out...

Okay, I have to admit, I am pleasantly fatigued.  I seem to have endless and boundless amounts of energy.  Anyone who knows me would say I have  "crazy" amount of energy.  Tonight, my feet hurt from countless hours of standing and moving about in the kitchen.  I have literally ran out of counter space and secretly am thankful for the highchair trays because they act as extra counter space in a pinch :)

This evening, I have decided to take a break and relax.  Something I hardly do unless perhaps in a situation where I have to stay put and wait my turn which is ususally in line at the local grocery store - if you call that relaxing!  Actually, when we take the city bus, I get a chance to relax and let someone else take control.

Today's events included finishing my cabbage soup, baking yet another loaf of sourdough bread, canning applesauce (I peeled almost an entire bushel of apples - 45 or so pounds, by hand), baking banana bread, blanching and dehydrating celery (which I ground into powder), cutting up bread ends for turkey stuffing, grocery shopping, laundry and meals.  Oh and lest I forget, the endless number of dishes to be handwashed since we don't have a dishwasher.  I am certain that fellow Homesteaders are feeling the effects of harvesting and preserving.  It really is a frenzy of activity and I recommend wearing good running shoes in the kitchen because you will find yourself standing for hours at a time.

Thank goodness my dried herbs can wait another few days before I remove the leaves off the stems and put into their new homes - glass jars!  My poor feet have had enough for today.

I feel completely "canned out".  This is my very first year with canning and I have to admit that I feel very proud of myself.  I have canned jams, jellies, fruit butters, pickled carrots, applesauce, tomatoes and peaches.  I have also dehydrated so many different fruits, fruit leathers and vegetables, I have washed and hung hot peppers on twine around my house, almost completed my fall planting and have done some sewing in between.  Whew, just writing about what I have done makes my head spin.  All in all, I find myself thinking that I am very pleased with how everything has turned out considering that I took on so many new tasks in a relatively short amount of time (June 2011 to be exact as a starting date) and have achieved some major accomplishments.

Lately, I have noticed that a few people in our close circle have been bringing over their own ripe fruits as a gift to me because they know that I "can do something with it".  It's funny how that happens when you start preserving. 

I think for now that I will sit back and have a couple of good night's sleep and then back to the grind.  After all, those sweet potatoes have to be dug up and cured, green tomatoes made into chutney, last herbs dried and then... all of those falling leaves need to be raked and composted....

Just Fix It!!!

Something occurred to me this morning as I was repairing one of the straps on one of my Reusable Shopping Bags with my sewing machine.  I first said to myself "hey look at me, I am repairing something that only cost me $1.00!  What for?"

I mean, why didn't I just toss the bag away and go buy a new one?  There are plenty of these bags in circulation right now and you can purchase one at your local Thrift Store for a mere 25 cents (I know because I bought 4 of them last week!)

The reason that I repaired my shopping bag this morning was because I liked it.  It has an unusual black and turqoise Damask pattern that I really like.  I was motivated to repair the bag because it meant something to me.  I then thought deeper...this bag has held many things over the past year such as groceries, library books, hardware store purchases and even our snacks.    Just because the seam on the strap had come unravelled, there was no reason to toss it away and add it to the Garbage Man's haul.

Interestingly enough, my brother works for a computer repair company called "Just Fix It".  The owner was thinking simply and logically when he created the name.  I think that he was making a great statement telling people to fix it if it's broken.  If it's not broken, then don't fix it!

While we were on the bus on our way home yesterday, I saw a huge floor model big screen television at the side of the curb.  There didn't appear to be any physical damage, the screen was also intact without any cracks.  Such a treasure for the first handy person came along and was able to lift it into their truck to tinker with and fix at home!
Boy, the original television owner really missed out yesterday.  He could have sold the television for likely $50 - $100.00 and then treated his family to a special treat - or better yet, bought something that the family needed! 

These days, too many people throw away something if it breaks or they want a newer model.  This adds to our overburdened waste management sites and clutters up our neighbourhood curbs.  Years ago, families either fixed what was broken or did without - clothing was mended, broken dishes reglued and equipment was repaired.  If something couldn't be repaired, it found new use, simple as that.

The next time before you decide to throw away something in the garbage that is broken or you have tired of it, think of other uses for the item.  Make jewellery, sew a quilt, add neat pieces of the item to your garden or paint them and make a really cool home accessory! 

If you can't imagine what you would do something, give it away or sell it using or Kijiji (our favourite places to shop before we have to go and buy brand new for essential items).

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday Night Treat

After a heavy day of canning tomatoes, blanching and freezing carrots, baking homemade baked beans and starting the broth for my divine cabbage soup, I sat down to relax....until... I noticed a weather warning on my computer. 

It looks like Jack Frost himself is intending to visit tonight along with bringing some snow flurries.  I could hardly believe it!  We just officially started October and already we will have snow?   My daughter asked if Santa Claus was coming tonight and I told her that he had better get moving in order to finish all of the toys in time for Christmas.

Speaking of flurries, I soon found myself in one.  I immediately grabbed my flashlight and headed out to the garden with my plastic wrap and duct tape.  I had meant to make row covers for my plants tomorrow, it was on my "to do" list, really!  I spent a short amount of time covering my tender plants, especially the tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

I came back inside and made a wonderful cup of hot tea to warm my cold hands.  I added 2 teaspoons of our favourite local organic honey.  All of a sudden, I craved more liquid gold and toasted some slices of fresh homemade bread and slathered them in butter and honey.  It was the perfect treat for a cold Saturday Night.

There is something to be said about melted creamy butter and honey on toast...Heavenly!