Friday, April 27, 2007

Closed for the Night/Day

SO grateful at the end of this week.......taking a big breath...

Oh the past hour, we've had SO much happen!

J found out he is getting his VERY VERY prayed-for wish of NOT having to do guard duty on shabbat!!!! AND his hours were just increased to 40...a full week! Can we say THANK YOU, YHVH, and can we also say YAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!????

That is SO HUGE!!!

And that's not all. Our friends who live an hour away, who are like-minded in many ways, AND who live in the country, are considering swapping a rural property they own just down the road from their house (5 acres, they have 40) for two of the properties we've been trying to swap/trade. The acreage has a pond on it already, and a mobile home with renters. They're talking, and we're talking, and if it doesnt work out, it's friendship first business second...always. But if it DID work out, we could ease ourselves that direction over the course of the next two years (daughter's school is here for now) AND we could have a rental income to help pay off debt.

Holding my breath and trying to keep a cool head....if it doesnt work out, there will be something else great, I'm positive. So of course, this is a matter for more praying...which makes me know that the ultimate direction has a purpose greater than our present understanding.

In any case, this has served to give me a HUGE shot of joy just now, and just in time for Friday night. I'm home this week to light the candles!

So grateful for God's kindness to us, and His provision...

for husband and daughter and friends

and blogs and acreages and my tomatoes growing like crazy making me so happy

for medicine and Xrays showing no broken bones

for friends across the miles who are my sages and confidantes

for others' happinesses!

for 24 hours of guilt-free rest

for actually liking most of my daughter's friends, especially THAT one

for protection and the safety we've been fortunate to enjoy

for so much, especially much-needed encouragement when we try to go forward, during the waiting period

May your days be full and fulfilling, your table have comfort and plenty, and your next 24 hours be full of rest and joy.

Shabbat shalom! :)


I confess to an addiction to the short-run British series "Chef!" which I bought for my husband last year, after we made the mutual discovery we were closet Chef!-watchers. I don't qualify as a very apt foodie, but I have an appreciation for the true artistes, much as someone who never quite mastered piano beyond finally getting both hands to play in sync can appreciate the true artistry of a Chopin masterpiece. Chef! is a behind-the-scenes tongue-in-cheek series on the cutting-wit side of humor. Please censor with conscience, but there is enough about the series that send J and I into paroxyms of laughter so loud it embarrasses my daughter even from the safe distance of her bedroom.

I make no apologies ;-)

My daughter's best friend is training in the culinary arts, and she is an artiste already. I just found out she is applying for internship at a nearby (who knew??) organic farm which also runs a CSA, and she wants to work hands-on with organics in order to hone her kitchen skills to (get THIS...) train with the chef of a local restaurant who cooks only local organic foods. HOW cool is THAT?? My daughter, who hears so much of this already, began to glaze over when her friends and my conversation turned to pollinators, heirloom plants, etc. She abducted her for some recreation, but woooHOOOO that God arranges things with such exquisite irony...heh heh!!

I'm grounded for the time from standing too much, especially after a day's worth of nothing but more waiting rooms and parking lots, but tonight I think we'll keep it easy and do the homemade pizza thing. Sounds SO hard, but it's sooooooooooo easy! And everyone can pile on their own toppings so none goes to waste (though it WILL go to waist, I'm sure...heh heh) YUM :)

Over and out....till the weekend :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm in Love: Part Two

My hubby walks in after his bath.

It's been a long day, and for him, a long day filled with lots of waiting...with me. He REALLY hates waiting rooms. The man doesn't like sitting still.

He must realllly LOVE me. He sat in waiting rooms till he was nearly twitching. We ran errands together. Stuff he had to help me do...mostly lending a strong arm or shoulder today.

At the verrryyy end of the verrryyyy long day, he took a verrryyyy welcome shower and reappeared as I sat here. His last errand run had been to the grocery store for lunch things. He approached me at the computer, claimed some kisses, and presented me with two little bags of organic dried fruit. I was surprised...I'm not a dried fruit enthusiast usually.

"One for your circulation" (he raised the bag of dried cherries, beamed a big smile, and kissed me again) "...and one for your eyes!" (the bag of dried blueberries.)

Ahhhhhh :)

And both for my heart

Loving that man....


Well, I guess they're a part of the process, too!

It appears ladders and my knees are no longer on friendly terms. What I thought were overly-zealous knee complaints last week are now my Left Knee's Glorious Revolution, in which I have been liberated from walking normally and must now adopt a gait somewhere between Fred Sanford and a cat hip-hopping stiff-legged through wet grass.

But I did manage to finally stake my tomato plants, right in the pots, with pre-fab fake rebar thingies. And make some of the Oh So Important Deadlines for my daughter's summer nursing adult program (just after high school). And graduation preparations. Between appointments, waiting, more appointments, and more waiting of the past few days...and layabouts with leg-on-pillow...I've not yet taken advantage of the sage advice of my more experienced contemporaries and separated the tomatoes I'd put into pots two at a time. So we'll see if they'll survive my sporadic attentions, or lack thereof. We are now harvesting the first few Romas, but there are a slew of green ones that'll likely all ripen at once.

I spent from 9:15 this morning till 4:00 waiting in The Lines People Who Don't Have Health Insurance Wait In For Healthcare Advice and Eligibility, just to be told this is not quite THEIR domain, Miss, and please go back to your supervisor and file an incident report. (Cold chills, brrr...)

I'm going a very unfamiliar route, but everyone's saying it's necessary and to just "do the process" so here we go. For crying out loud, I just want to see what's wrong with Left Knee and pay someone for their trouble. Lessee what pans out...tomorrow's the much-awaited doc visit, woohoo. If nothing else, 'twill make those early AM loo visits a bit more do-able (TMI?), as I'm not today able to WALK AT ALL, and my rolling office chair has a humdinger of a time fitting nicely through some doorframes. And while I'm on the subject, may I offer my perception that any office titled "Injury Clinic" should (and I hope this is not over-the-top) have a spare wheelchair, cane, walker, or other medical thingy somewhere around for just this sort of occasion.

More homesteadish articling shall commence when the old gray mare (moi), who ain't what she USED to be, is home tomorrow for a good rest and all patched up.

And slicing up the one ripe Roma tomato three ways to be enjoyed by the fam while counting our blessings!

This makes me think along the lines of our dreams, most especially acreage and animals and other responsibilities we're hoping to have, and adapting those things to our limitations. Whether they are physical limitations, time limitations, monetary ones, etc, there will be limitations of SOME variety. This is just a reminder to take them into account, especially in the planning stages, rather than set ourselves up for something far too beyond our reach. We can build the different projects starting small and work our way up as far as is good for us. There is no single defining "way" to do it. Isn't that encouraging? It will also help us gear ourselves for more long-term stability rather than finding that as soon as we're able to realize some of these homesteading dreams down the road, we'll have to leave it because we've taken on a burdensome thing. I'm glad we're starting small. In a sense, it's still a big thing. Retiring all our debt is a really huge thing. I'm convinced it's just as viable a step as the land purchase, house building or renovations, husbandry and grass/native plant farming.

I ramble. I'm tired...bed for this gal :)

My hands smell like tomato plants. Life is GOOD! :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Official Pollinator Report, Postage Stamps, Ntl. Pollinator Week

These, from The National Academy of Sciences, and the links to partner sites


and Coevolution.Org

I. Status of Pollinators in North America (Report/Brief): From the National Academy of Sciences Study

II. New "Pollination" stamp series for release in June 2007: From the U.S. Postal Service

III. U. S. Senate Resolution to protect pollinators, designates June 24-30, 2007 as National Pollinator Week

News Buzz: Pollinators Making Headlines

Colony Collapse Disorder. On my way home from errands, I flicked on the radio talkshow AM station, and what to my wondering ears did I hear but a discussion about our disappearing pollinators, and the honeybee crisis now being dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder."

On and on went the grim statistics, in a very informative and enlightening fashion, for about ten minutes, which is pretty good news coverage on any day for the humble bee. A Reuters article was read, etc., and people were bid to call in with any suggestions as to the mystery culprit (the exact killer of the honeybees has yet to be identified). And.....THEN...whatever-the-boneheaded- co-anchor's-name-was chimes in with his own "statistics," stating something along the lines of "keep in mind this crisis is not going to affect nearly the numbers of crops suggested. In fact, most of our crops are pollinated in other ways, or are hybridized and do not require pollinators at all. The honeybee is simply not relied upon at all today as a pollinator, and the main function of the honeybee now is simply a cash honey crop." He gave no supporting data.

(And if you buy that un-informed opinion, perhaps you'll love your waterfront view from the Brooklyn Bridge you've just been sold...)

Here are a few of the headlines related to our current and proven pollinator crisis. I have some theories as to some of the contributing factors in this pollinator disappearance we've been experiencing. I'm sure it will manifest in a rant in an upcoming post. But first, here's the news and the conjecture weighing in through news reports around the world.

If you have any newer news info on this, or your own surmises, please chime in! This is a critical issue. Our government is about to dish out a few more million dollars of our money to address this. Perhaps we can add our ideas at a much more sustainable price...

Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists

Honeybees in jeopardy


What's killing the bees?

Mobile phones massacring honeybees?

Honey bees are dying off

Investigating Colony Collapse Disorder

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Willa's Comfrey Question

The question was along the lines of what to do when something as lovely and beneficial (to plants, animals and humans) as the comfrey plant decides to take over your garden and reproduce like an alien invasion? Comfrey, apparently, can be boon or bane!

A quickie internet excursion took me on pleasant trails in quest of an answer to this dilemma. Depending upon the variety in question, if you have hundreds of wee comfrey plants peeking up from your garden soil, it's clear they are of a type which seeds themselves with wild abandon.

The conclusions I found from my foray online was

a. Nevernonevernonever rototill the little guys under. Doing so would chop those roots into bits that would THRIVE on reproducing ever more comfrey ad infinitum

b. Always keep these plants in containers or a contained bed

c. If trying to remove, do NOT cut them at the root, and DO sift the soil to remove all roots

OR (and there are varying opinions on this)

d. Put a chicken tractor or portable electric fencing around the area and let chickens, turkeys, ducks, or geese go to town. Chickens will eat all the comfrey AND, if left long enough to dig and scratch, will supposedly even eat all the roots. The caveat in all this is the literature out there that questions the healthfulness of comfrey when ingested by poultry. There is other traditional opinion that it's perfectly healthy for poultry, but critics claim it has a toxicity that can produce liver damage when ingested in large quantities.

Supposedly, there is no way to eradicate them unless you try #6. However, (do not lose hope!) #6 has been tried (and has succeeded).
For more on this, see this fascinating article, "Feeding the Flock from the Homestead's Own Resources" at the link I'm about to give. In fact, this site has great information on growing some easy, beautiful, and beneficial sources of poultry feed:

Can't offer anything here from personal experience, but filing this info away never hurts. And don't be scared away from comfrey...its advantages surely are numerous, and it's said to increase the vigor of many plants. And, though stinky, a "garden tea" made from its leaves is said to be a great fertilizer!

Pollination Project: What is Pollination? The A-Bee-Cs

Here's the simplest of intros to the Pollination project...

I've known it's about the birds and the bees, but when it comes to the topic of pollination, I've been woefully in the dark beyond the basic understanding that Something Pollen-ish meets up with Something Plant-ish to make More Plants, and that the "birds and the bees" are somewhat critical to the pollen transfer thereof.

After some reading, I'm going to boil it down to the simple facts, for myself, of what happens during pollenation.

Here's the Big P as I now understand it:

1. Hold onto your hats. Remember pollen? That stuff that drifts through the air in record counts during certain times of the year, much to the irritation of noses everywhere, and to the prosperity of allergists? It appears that pollen is the equivalent of plant sperm. Apparently, the male part of a plant releases pollen, and when joined with the female part of the plant which contains the egg, you have both sex cells joined in fertilization. So, when we're sneezing during hayfever season, we can rest assured those pollen drifts are a whole lot of plant macho going on.

2. Pollination = Plant fertilization via the above-mentioned process. Cha-cha-cha!

3. Pollination/Fertilization of plants is what accounts for the making of new Seeds and Fruits. Which is good...reproduction and FOOD for man and beast. According to Encarta
"Virtually all grains, fruits, vegetables, wildflowers, and trees must be pollinated and fertilized to produce seed or fruit, and pollination is vital for the production of critically important agricultural crops, including corn, wheat, rice, apples, oranges, tomatoes, and squash."

4. Pollination must be accomplished by plants of the same species...a rose is a rose is a can't cross a rose with a spruce...or oughtn't.

5. There are two types of pollination: Cross-pollination and self-pollination. Some species can accomplish both. Borrowing again quite heavily from Encarta
"Most plants are designed for cross-pollination, in which pollen is transferred between different plants of the same species. Cross-pollination ensures that beneficial genes are transmitted relatively rapidly to succeeding generations... Cross-pollination introduces genetic diversity into the population at a rate that enables the species to cope with a changing environment. New genes ensure that at least some individuals can endure new diseases, climate changes, or new predators, enabling the species as a whole to survive and reproduce."

Cross-pollination has become compromised in our "modern" world by the wide usage of genetically-altered "improved" plants. As these plants' pollen is carried by pollinators to non-altered crops, the non-altered crops are compromised and a "pure" source is harder to ensure. This is a HUGE issue, and I won't treat it here...yet. But DO read up on it. Just Google GM or GE foods and Monsanto. 'Nuff said for now.

Also in the news is a sort of horrid irony related to cross pollination. As some crops are "engineered" by man to not need pollination, we have such news flashes as the recent lawsuit AGAINST honeybeekeepers by the growers of hybrid Clementine oranges, whose crops, it is claimed, are "compromised" by these pollinators. It seems the bees do their job, but the Clementine variety orange growers can't keep their crops "sterile" because of cross-pollination. And so they're suing...the beekeepers! Oh give me an ever-lovin' break...

OK, back on topic

"In self-pollination, pollen is transferred from the stamens to the pistil within one flower. The resulting seeds and the plants they produce inherit the genetic information of only one parent, and the new plants are genetically identical to the parent. The advantage of self-pollination is the assurance of seed production when no pollinators, such as bees or birds, are present. It also sets the stage for rapid propagation—weeds typically self-pollinate, and they can produce an entire population from a single plant. The primary disadvantage of self-pollination is that it results in genetic uniformity of the population, which makes the population vulnerable to extinction by, for example, a single devastating disease to which all the genetically identical plants are equally susceptible. Another disadvantage is that beneficial genes do not spread as rapidly as in cross-pollination, because one plant with a beneficial gene can transmit it only to its own offspring and not to other plants. Self-pollination evolved later than cross-pollination, and may have developed as a survival mechanism in harsh environments where pollinators were scarce."

Which of these two types of pollination occurs is what determines, in the plant world, the answer to "who's your daddy?"

In general, cross-pollination insures vigor, adaptability, and biodiversity...instead of a plant species reproducing for just one set of qualities, a broad scope of qualities of any given species that's cross-pollinated can insure its continued adaptation and survival AND its broader scope of usefulness to the creatures whose survival is hinged to it. Less susceptibility to eradication via a strong diversity keeps that link in the chain strong not only for the plant species itself, but for the other animal and insect species whose populations are also vulnerable to eradication, and are having to constantly adapt.

6. Since plants are stationary, in order for most pollination to occur, it requires outside intervention. Pollen transfer can be achieved by different some species, by the wind, and in others, by the movements of bees, birds, butterflies, insects, bats, and mice. Without these carriers, it cannot "travel."

Or in other words, plants "get frisky" best via pollinators.

The topic is far more detailed and interesting than the brief description I've bulleted here, in case anyone wants to engage in some pretty fascinating reading about just how beautifully this process unfolds, and how intricate is the pollination interaction of different species. Conifers have a different specialized way of reproducing than do most flowers, and so on.

But for now, I just wanted to enter a brief description of the basics, so that we know what we're talking about when we begin venturing into the areas related to those who help the process...the pollinators.

Pollination may seem a subject fit more for a botanist than the man on the street, but pollination affects nearly all the plant life we see around us, the continuation of plant reproduction, and the food we eat. Breaking this chain would be akin to our society suddenly believing it can rely upon test tubes for most human reproduction. Certainly, on some small scale, it can be "managed." But it can never be the same world if man eliminates the existing order by believing it's an adequate substitute to "play God."

All of the above statements are written AS I UNDERSTAND THEM. I am not a scientist, but I am an observer and participant in the natural world. Please feel free to correct me if I am in error on any specific point. I'm trying to grasp the big picture while at the same time having a clue about how the pieces fit I can be informed and better understand how to cooperate WITH the order already designed to keep this created world thriving DESPITE humankind's steps backwards in its stewardship...and make steps FORWARD in returning it to that condition.

Next up...a little info about the pollinators themselves. And then onwards to the list of plants that insure the continuing existence of these creatures whose job helps our continued existence.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Well, the Blog WAS Closed...

...for shabbat. I hope your evening and day were restful as mine were...I dove into the bedcovers and did not re-emerge for a verrryyyy longgggg time. Ahhhhhhhh :)

I keep promising more to post, and it's there waiting, but hasn't been typed. Good intentions must keep time with my new schedule. Ummmm, or am I just less disciplined and prone to watch the tomatoes grow when I have the chance free moment?

More to report, next time I'm here.

::::::::::::: trip, trap trip, trap:::::::::::::

(the pitter-pat sound I remember being read from The Three Billy Goats Gruff , wow haven't thought of that in years! Must be the sign I need more sleep.....Night for now!)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blog Neglect

I hope to have some catch-up time here this weekend. My body seems preoccupied in its own learning curve of adapting to a different level of physical demands at the job, which is likely much-needed.

The Job I Really Want was dealt a somewhat blow this week as the final phase commenced. I'm in the last stage of clearance, and was only recently diagnosed as diabetic. Blah blah blah, the point being that I've been proactive to DEAL with that as boldly and proactively as possible, but things are on hold with my medical clearance...perhaps permanently, or perhaps with a substantial delay.

In dealing with disappointment, or prospective difficulty (this job also pays considerably more than I make now and has benefits), we've been praying about it. I sincerely believe that our whole path, homestead direction included, is part of a bigger plan that we're in partnership with God in...meaning He has the bigger perspective of which doors are best and which aren't. So disappointment, which is real, is something I'm processing hopefully as another learning curve of trust.

We'll see where this path takes us. It's definately exciting, to say the least :)

The pollinator project may unfold slowly, but unfold it will. Stay tuned!

I'm in Love

I came home last night from work...sore and exhausted...and my husband, himself hardworking at his own job earlier, had come home and mopped the ENTIRE tile floor.

Our whole house is tile floor.

Did I mention I'm in love??


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pollinator Prep

In preparing for what I thought would be a list of great bee and pollintor-friendly plants, I'm finding I'm needing to lay a basic groundwork in my own education about the pollinators themselves and the actual process of pollination.

There are many thorough treatments of these topics out there, some of them funded by our own tax dollars. I'm finding so much material that I'm sorting through it as time allows.

The INTRO part of The Pollinator Happy-Plant list is going to consist of:


1. What is Pollination and How Does it Work?
2. Who's Doing the Pollinating

I found surprises in my reading so far regarding the list of pollinators. It's sobering, but also invigorating! Where there's information, there's a way to redirect efforts to restore.

Just making these notes right now so that you'll know where I'm beginning. The information shall be coming here soon :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Pollinator Dilemma

Much has been written recently about the pollinator crisis...the diminishing numbers of those "friendly" bees, wasps, and other pollinators whose job ensures the continuation and multiplication of the botanical world. "The birds and the bees" ARE truly about reproduction at the most basic level...and if threatened at that very level, it impacts the core of how creation has been designed to replenish itself.

Here are some factoids that can be easily backed up with data ever-so prolific:

1. Honeybees are dying.
2. Honeybees are directly linked to the numbers and health of other bees and pollinators. If the others are fewer in number, the less healthy honeybees are.
3. The disappearance of honeybees has reached a crisis proportion. This is not a hyped overstatement claimed by just one or two special interest groups.
4. It's not just a honeybee crisis, it's a human one.
5. The disappearance of the variety and numbers of pollinators in general is directly linked to the disappearance of available native plants.
6. Habitat for bees and pollinators IS habitat for humanity. If we think otherwise, we need to read up on the interdependence factor that works to balance creation. Synthetic foods will never substitute real foods and still maintain the existence of humankind. Engineered foods are not sustenance at the most basic level. We are "inventing" our way into a corner. Are we considering an eventual extinction of some of our basic food groups? (OK yeah maybe that's my going off the deep end in a rant...but where does it end??) :)

Back to the pollinators and their "happy plants."

I'm not sure why this issue has really taken heart inside me as something I MUST do...maybe I'm getting an urge to set up a corner of this place, my corner, to slowly attain to a picture I have in my mind of "how things ought to be." And somehow, that will make things closer to being alright? I can't explain it. It's not a quest for peacefulness, nor of escaping a world gone wild, but rather of seeing if it can be realized, even if just somewhat.

And somehow that world is abuzz with bees and lively pollen and nectar-thirsty insect life.

The Companionability Factor

When looking at the "bee lists" and research that is prolific and available from many sources, if only we'll access it, I'm scanning it with an eye for companionability. Just as I'm trying to mix companion plants among my small and growing "test veggies" (my term for the really small scale ...pots...we're using to try out the elemental basics of beginning gardening before one day moving to larger property and scale), I would like to keep that concept in mind when thinking of incorporating "pollinator-attracting" plants into a larger garden scheme, or naturalizing.

Which "pollinator plants" are equally friendly to both people and livestock?

That concern didn't really arise until I saw a couple of warnings in my perusing of the lists. Here are the concerns:

1. Some plants you'd think would be great for pollinators are least to bees. They'll kill them off.

2. Some plants, after being harvested by honeybees in particular, make the honey undesirable (as in unsafe, or questionable). Fortunately, these are few and far between. However, I need to be aware of what they are before introducing any non-native species (or even MORE native species) in larger numbers. If honey is ever made, it has to be safe for consumption for humans.

3. Some plants are pollinator-friendly, but if foraged by livestock, can cause irritation, injury, or death. Or an obnoxious taste to milk.

4. Some plants are not people-friendly, or have cautions in how certain parts of the plants are used by humans. I don't want plants around that kids could pop into their mouths and die from. Those, too, are few and far between, but worth noting. That would be a non-issue for some folks because of location or situation. For me, it's just my comfort zone reality.

5. Some plants are way too gregarious and will socialize without stopping...meaning they are invasive and dangerous to native plants. Some are not. Some can be contained in various ways. These are just responsible considerations. We don't want a well-intentioned introduction of a plant that will bully out the diversity of existing native good guys.

There are probably other concerns, but these are the ones that come to mind.

I'm shorter on time just now, but I'm compiling a list for myself of plants that pass the above tests...and will grown in my planting zone and soil.

I'm also interested in those plants that additionally can be utilized to add diversity to pasture so that selective browsing can take place, and which might add yet-undiscovered benefits to the food sources of responsibly pastured livestock of different kinds.

Thankfully, there are a lot of plants out there that fill the bill. I'm on a quest to make the list (isnt that part of the fun of the planning stage...lists?) :)

More on the unfolding of The List...but I have hammered out a process and will be focusing in an organized fashion (somewhat!) on groupings of these, notable details beyond the pollinator friendliness factor, and hopefully even listing sources of the plants/seeds for purchase.

This will be a continuing project, and since it can be bitten off a tad at a time, I can be productive while still having a packed schedule for the moment.

So...there's the and lists to commence very soon!

Yay! I'm "buzzing" with excitement....ha! ;-)

Friday, April 13, 2007

A View from the Porch

Wow, what a week!

I'm still parttiming at the Flying W, and I discovered that walking 8 straight hours on concrete floors, lifting and squatting and such while giving friendly service, etc is like having a very draconian personal trainer. Ibuprofen and I are now inseparable friends. Footrubs are coveted. Bursitis is staved off only by prayer and MORE ibuprofen. Bills are paid and debt trickles downward, according to The Plan.

Life is good :)

I get home very late some of these evenings, so my farewells-to-the-day on the back porch via folding chair and cold glass of iced tea watching the sun go down, may temporarily be a thing of the least most days.

Despite the mosquitos, those peaceful dusks on the porch are much loved by me. I really like the quiet. The cardinals come for a last try at the sunflower seed feeder. The doves call and the flocks of different birds all head to their sleeping destinations. And the sunsets.....ohh!

They are all different, even moment by moment. By the time you can run inside to grab The Cheap Instamatic, the scene has changed. The colors are random and nuanced. Deep coral, fuschia, persimmon, salmon, peach, garnet, crimson, vermillion, azure, cerulean, rose, blush, mother-of-pearl, amber....and gradations of color without adequate names. Clouds in tiers, or snippets, or wisps, or skeins, or flourishes. A ceiling of sunset, or a horizon of receding light. Each sunset is its own grand dame taking her deep curtsies before exiting...sometimes demurely, sometimes with a sashay and a flounce.

I recommend a porch with a sunset view. Every day should end with awe.

The blog is now closed for 24 hours.

I'm grateful for this week.
For family, friends, health, blogs, plants, the rain that finally came, job, and these two creatures that graced my path during the past few days...

this one (American Bald Eagle) who flew right over the road in front of us...

and this one (Great Horned Owl), who was perched, dignified, atop a neighbor's house roof napping the day away...

May your dusks be colorful, your sore feet be rubbed, and your night be restful!

Shabbat shalom :)

Photos from these sources:

1. Sunset: My cheap instamatic

2. Bald Eagle:

3. Great Horned Owl:

The Cheaper Route to Paris

This, from my friend Teri...

in case you need a giggle

--Go to

--Click on Maps.

--Click on get Directions.

--From New York, New York

--To Paris, France.

--And read line # 23.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Einstein in the Garden

Simple physics realization:

The force of water falling from a steep roof run-off is equal to the decimation potential of several flats of tender, just-sprouted seedlings positioned directly underneath.

This has been established through scientific process by a beginning gardener whose IQ must have temporarily plummeted to double digits, and who will now have to wait several more weeks (again!) for a decent salad harvest. (Sigh)

Please do not leave any infant plants in her care without adult supervision...


“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Who probably grew great lettuce in a protected location...)


Monday, April 9, 2007

Starting Small: Some of the "Before" Pics

You'll know from reading here that we're definately in the experimental stage (well, I know that stage doesn't exactly ever end, but we're in the embryonic experimental stage, for sure).

I don't have the fancy camera I wish I had to capture some of the steps we're trying right now. I tried taking pictures of some of my baked goods and foods I'd posted recipes for here, but they are all a pitiful blur, though the background stood out well...arrggghhh :) That's the limit of the instamatic.

I do have a mere handful of passable ones, though...ones taken a couple of weeks ago. Since these pictures were taken, the plants are now in a burst of growth and are further along.

The pots pictured here are ones I already had, and I potted them with a mixture of soil amendments, mostly store-bought potting soil variety, since we're bereft of any useable compost or organic matter at the moment. The wooden stakes were the silt fence stakes I got at a much cheaper price last fall than garden stakes. When you go to the construction side of a place like Home Depot rather than the garden center to buy stakes, ask for silt fence stakes, the sort that at construction sites are used to peg webbed plastic "fencing" around properties to keep erosion at a minimum. They come in bundles and different lengths, all of which are so much cheaper than buying garden stakes. I had dark green paint, and so back in the fall I painted them green, with white for the plant names. Not getting quite as fancy this spring, I re-used them for the tomatoes but haven't painted over the names. So the tomato plant isnt really a jalapeno, as shown, but then I am at least savvy enough now to know the difference ;-)

We're using what we have right now. I recycled some plastic flats and am experimenting with growing lettuces in them and other containers. You can see we had some cardboard boxes on hand, so those have been utilized, too. The milk crate has been planted in lettuce, too, and I'm comparing how well each type of container is doing side-by-side when planted the same time.

I lined the milk crate with brown paper grocery bags. The way I did it left the bottom with several really thick layers of grocery bags, which I think is not allowing for enough drainage. Those bags are really holding in the moisture. The seedlings did not sprout as quickly as in the flats. I'm wondering if this is a disadvantage, or might rather be a later advantage in the very hot summers we expect here.

The tomato plants shown are potted two (of the same variety) to a pot in the larger pots, and one per pot in the two smaller ones. I'm not sure this was a good idea. I may have crowded them too much by having two share a pot. When they are outgrowing their stakes (which is soon!) I'm hoping to put 6' bamboo "teepees" to surroud each pot, to allow for more outward and upward growth. They are currently underplanted with leaf lettuces and marigolds, and were heavily fertilized when first planted. (In the pics, the purple flowers in the foreground pots are verbena awaiting repotting or transplanting into the ground.) I'll be putting down a solution of dissolved epsom salts soon around their bases, as they are now about twice the size shown and are all setting blooms (yay!), since I've read that this helps the bloom stage a lot. It's all one big experiment, so we'll see!

I'll be adding to this little "corner of veg" as soon as time and containers and money permit. Right now we're in the beginning and transition stages of job and schedule and it's gotten a little crazy. I just want to keep on plugging with the seed planting, though. Planting potatoes are next on the agenda, as is planting all those wonderful seeds I bought a week or so ago. FUN !!

I'll try to post some "after" pics someday if I can convince the instamatic to cooperate :)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Edible Dianthus: Salads in the Pink

We are celebrating our first homegrown salad!!

The mesclun lettuce mix that I sowed not so long ago has grown till the tray is overflowing. I'm not sure what size the leaves should be when ready to harvest, but after waiting as long as I could hold out, I got scissors and harvested a whole flat (the flats are smallish). I'm not even sure how to do that, so I basically gave all the lettuces a "haircut." The leaves were 5 to 6 inches long, but they had small shoots at the base of each set of leaves, so I was wanting to see if I could harvest the bigger leaves and still allow the other small leaves to mature further.

I'm wondering if, since this was a mix, the longest leaves were all one sort of lettuce and the others were farther behind. Most of what I picked were smooth and oval green leaves with a taste mildly of lemony spinach. Whatever it was, it was good!

I washed the leaves and let them dry between paper toweling...we harvested a big salad bowlful. I harvested some of the smaller of the lemon balm leaves and also dianthus flowerheads from the four dianthus we have.

I originally bought the dianthus, also known by the old-fashioned term "pinks," as small starter plants to plant between peppers last fall in order to attract pollinators. I'd never tried them as such, and wanted to plant other flowers in addition to marigolds. I really wasn't sure they'd survive the heat, or the winter, but they really got their second wind a month or so ago and have been blooming and blooming. When the peppers were long gone, the dianthus were still going strong.

Their tenacity and bright blooms led me to investigate the dianthus online. It's in the carnation family of flowers, except that the blooms are much smaller. The blooms are also edible, which surprised me. As starry and fringed bursts of color, they really add beauty to salads, their carmine, white, and fuschia splashes as beautiful as they are tasty. Ours taste mild and fragrant. It's described as clove-like, which I'd say is fairly accurate. My husband really likes the taste, which I found surprising.

I wasn't sure how to add a dianthus bloom to a dish, so I harvested them right at the bases of the individual blooms, one bloom at a time, and washed them gently in cool water. After drying in paper toweling, I pinched the base of the bloom off along with the enclosed white tips, which separates the petals. They separate into individual petals which are triangular and fringed at the broad bloom end. The colors are vivid and the effect when tossed among fresh salad leaves, is transforming. Suddenly a plain salad LOOKS like a show-stopper, and knowing all the ingredients are homegrown and organic rounds out the pleasure of the taste-testing!

The pinched-off ends are tougher, but I'm thinking they might be used as a caper-like condiment if pickled. If I do many more, I might try that and see.

Our first salad (EVER...Hoorayyy!!!) was a dewy toss of fresh-picked mesclun, dianthus, and minced lemon balm. YUM... :) With a touch of vinaigrette, it was a celebration!

Pictures from these links:

Friday, April 6, 2007

Closed for the Night/Day

Back in 24 :)

Lights from the Kitchen

Y'know? That soft yellow glow in the night you head toward (be it from out of the winter damp or the summer humidity) in anticipation of good smells and some relaxation?

I was one of those kids who would stare at the passing houses, if we were out driving at night, seeing glowing squares of windowlight, and wondering what THOSE people ate, or did for fun, or had for living room furniture. (No, I was not a peeping Tom. It was the same urge that later mellowed into an urge to buy home improvement and decorating magazines, ha!) I had a lot of roadbumps in childhood that made me yearn to know what other families were like, and how they gathered and lived their lives.

I've been grateful to have the opportunity to have my own family, home, and lights left on. This has become really special to me. That said, I still never tire of seeing how others make home and kitchen unique to their traditions.

And so, without further ado, I introduce two books that make me feel warmed with that same ambient glow, as if I'd walked into someone else's kitchen and pulled up a chair as family. They've both been around for a while, but I return to them often. If you ever get a chance to check them out, you may likely linger there, too.

The first is Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, published in 1988. One of my dearest friends gave me this, and I'm sorry to say it took me a while to read it. Now I read it often, and it's like a favorite chair you just don't want to get out of. Thank you, Gail, for all your gifts to my life. I think of you every time I read this! I see that there are other books by the same author, so I'll have to those to my inter-library loan request list.

Here's a link for a peek

The second was a personal discovery. It's Miriam's Kitchen: A Memoir by Elizabeth Erlich. It's just beautiful, personable, approachable, and thoughtful. For a better description, here's the link

Hope you can enjoy these, as I have. They go really well with a hot mug of good tea, when all curled up and comfy in a quiet moment.

Grateful Friday

My week's coming to an end, and my cup overflows with gratefulness!

The PT job I've been training for has seen a wonderful initial schedule, which was slated to require my services every weekend has, through the kindness of a supervisor and the higher kindness of God (I prayed for this, and am SO happy about it!) been altered to allow me to work NO Saturdays! This is really huge for me, and is really unusual in retail. So major YAYYYY!!!! Many many thanks going up tonight!

It's also a thankful matter, and lends great cheer to myself and my husband, that we're now both gainfully employed, and with further opportunities possible on the horizon. Ah, such a wonderful feeling!

I'm also so grateful for my homesteading friends here whose comments and blogs really inspire me and make this journey so much richer...thank you so much! I'm learning, and enjoying knowing you!

I intended to write about Passover, but I'm afraid by the time my keyboard catches up with my available time, it will still be too much to write out. It was fun being surrounded by friends who are like family, and was a very different experience than some of the bigger paid synagogue events we've been a part of a few times. For all my snarking about the food and cooking vagaries, the meaning of the holiday always transcends any and all of that. It moves me to tears and to joy at the same time, because the essence of the night is To Remember. The biblical texts come alive not because there are food symbols arranged on a seder plate, but because we are commanded to retell the story to our children saying "When I was delivered out of Egypt..." To me, this means that our commemoration is as real now as the event was then -- and it is our privilege to be counted as if we were there -- because in enacting this memorial, we're reckoned as being a part of that first mixed multitude that Went Forth. Ah, I love this season! I can hardly imagine what a parted sea would have been like, but I'd have loved to witness that and tell it to my children and grandchildren. So many amazing deliverances. Yes, it's not possible to express what I'm feeling adequately without rambling on and on without an end in sight. I just don't want to minimize it in any way. And so I'll stop here. The text in Exodus is eloquent enough. :)

I'm reminded of how inseparable food is with our daily lives and our family ties, and even our worship. It didn't use to be so politically incorrect to mention faith as something integral with life entire. In fact, it was only in recent history that nations adopted a partitioning of faith from state. I'm not going to comment further on that, but I'll very briefly mention a correlation I've noticed when reading about ancient sacrifice and today's table. In the Hebrew texts, sacrifices were not the "throw-a-virgin-into-the-volcano-to-appease-the-angry-gods" event that characterized some civilizations. Maybe I'm fresh from the reading of The Omnivore's Dilemma, or just becoming more appreciative of being AWARE of where our food really comes from these days. But it really struck me that the order and instructions regarding the "sacrifices" in the Hebrew practices of old had very much to do with a sober appreciation for life and our connection with, and respect for, the gift of food and sustenance.

There was no drive-through and impersonal supply of malignant abused battery cage poultry then. In fact, meat was a rarer meal, pretty much justified only for the more special of events. And in a reread of these verses, which in the past seemed like only a catalogue of boring "thou shalts and thou shalt nots" I found that rather than the eating of meat being an impersonal consumer-driven industry and handled disrespectfully, it was raised to the level of being handled by priests, and eaten as a shared feast by the community, in the presence of God. I see a lot of sobriety in the instructions regarding the treatment of animals, the ethics related to their breeding and responsible keeping, and details of how they should and should not be used to feed their human caretakers. As unsavory as this subject is on the best of days, it just stood out to me that each step was safeguarded as a part of, rather than apart FROM, an upright and whole life.

Don't know how I got onto that subject, hmmm. I guess I just find eating, remembering, singing, and feeling the presence of God in it all the perfect balance of what a meal can be, be it herbs or the fatted calf. There is a respect for each item, and a sobriety at the offering, and joy in not taking any of it for granted.

That's all I can write about it...It's so hard to put into words.

So grateful for friends, for the ties to remarkable events and remarkable people and the remarkable Deliverer, tables of food and welcome, husband, daughter, safety, jobs, having Saturday off, discoveries every day if only I'll give pause and see them, lush lettuces in their soil beds, fat green tomatoes, the woodpecker who isn't afraid of me, the cardinals who are, and getting older (which means surviving and having "character lines").

Oh yes, and grateful for laughter!

Shabbat shalom

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Land and Job(s) Update

Our current stage of homesteading, aside from our experimentation with garden projects on a very small scale, is the planning and debt-retiring stage. I try not to get too impatient, because there's so much to be learning, and there will continue to be. Every stage will involve patience and waiting to some degree.

The update on the 3 acres with older house is that the man has never contacted us since discussion of trading properties...he has a list of properties, only two of which are zoned what we need (agricultural)...the others are very small residential lots which can only be used with restrictive regulations. We submitted a list of our residential vacant lots (we have only a few) for consideration and further conversation about trading, since this man has done trades with his properties in the past. Two of my husband's lots are waterfront, which puts us at least in the running as far as being of comparable value.

Since all that, we've only gotten cryptic feedback from this man, who was all enthusiastic in the beginning. It's no sweat if he decides it's not something he wants to do, but not knowing his thoughts at all leaves me wishing he'd come on out and say so if that's what's at issue. The not knowing is the part that makes waiting harder. In the meantime, we're looking for other investors or individuals who might want to do a trade rather than trying to sell it on the market at this time. With the market being what it is, we'd lose a lot, and so would anyone else from the other end trying to do the same.

J has started his new job, same field, still mostly weekends. He'll be searching out other jobs a bit at a time, but finally having something steady coming in will be a big help. Three of the jobs I'd applied for, which had log-jammed in the application and waiting process, have finally un-jammed all at the same time. The PT one is nearby and I'm in orientation with that one. The 2nd is waterlogged while weeks go by between contact points with the County employer, and the 3rd is The Job I Really Want. I applied for that one in November of last year. I was told the whole process would take several months. It has! On Wednesday, I jumped through the next-to-last investigative hoop for them, and I only have one left to go. There is much prayer being prayed for that one final step!! Let's see what happens.

The little garden experimental pots and trays are taking off right now, especially the lettuce and the tomatoes. The basil is now sprouting, and I'm waiting to see if the carrots, peppers, and eggplants will sprout. In a few days the very first of the lettuce will be ready to harvest! I've been planting more as the weeks have gone by, so we'll have some repeat crops...yum!

And I'm tired from the holiday. So tired that I'm curtailing my normal curiosity and project-tackling for now, and I'm going to just go take a NAP (eek!) ha

That's ok, too. Our goals are in sight, and we're doing the prep part. It's not always fun, but it's necessary. And seeing those bills going AWAY is reallllyyyyyy GREAT!

I love dabbling outside with the plants, too. I have more that need to get planted soon. If I get THE job, I'd like to celebrate by building a rabbit hutch and vermicompost bin for underneath, to start having my own garden "amendments" and something warm and living as company when I'm outside. Can't do the chickens or a dog or cats at this point, but maybe rabbits....soon...? If I can find a way to keep the raccoons from getting their grubby little mitts on them.

Next small project....get those potato bins going and put the petunias in them. I already have the to decide on what's the easiest thing to use for a bin. Haven't found a box large enough yet, but I'm still looking.

Well, that's the update. Nothing exciting to tell just now, and so the old lady will have her nap. Let's see, I'll categorize that as "renewable energy".....ha!

Macarooned on Manischewitz Island

Or otherwise titled "Last Minute Fun with an EZ Bake Oven."

I'm typing in a hurry, but I'll be back.

But I just had to report in to say that both Seder nights DID happen, and remembrance and fun was had by all!

Did it all go off without a hitch? Well, what fun could a hitchless holiday possibly be?

I'll just give the highlight.

Never, no never, wait to the last minute to make the dessert. Especially a leaven-free one. Not even if it comes in a box and its instructions promise ease and freedom from complications.

Manischewitz marble cake mix?

I must have lost my marbles. I thought I was opting for the dependable, rather than venturing forth into the wobblier land of creativity. I was asked to bring dessert. Lots of dessert, for a crowd. This was discussed, and there would be fruit salad, macaroons, and leaven-free cake.

Scanning the mental list, and gathering the ingredients, here was the pre-event run-down.:

Fruit salad, (check!) Fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, two sorts of grapes. Enough for three crowds.

Macaroons, (check!) Straight from the can...Manischewitz, that is, and you pay an arm and a leg. These are a good stand-by since they require no preparation and come in coconut, almond, cappucino, chocolate chip, chocolate, chocolate-covered, etc. No matter what else doesn't turn out, you can set out the macaroons and know they'll be grazed down for lack of better selections. I'm not proud that these are not homemade, but with varying degrees of Jewish observance and interpretation of what can and can't be eaten, I am trying to keep things simple. Various flavors are bought. This way, if the cake doesn't turn out, there are consolation edibles.

Cake, (check!) Only there was SOMETHING I didn't check... Again, in a bid to keep the mysteries of soda-less, baking-powder-less and flourless (well regular-flourless) cooking simpler, I opted for a mix. To Keep Things Simple, mmm hmmm. Two boxes, larger than regular cake mixes and four times as expensive. That cake had better sing AND dance at those prices...

All was well, and things were percolating along towards the Passover feast(s), and with not many hours to spare. (and therein lies the problem...)

It comes time to make the cakes. Ahhh....I am ready. Mrs. Manischewitz, the Jewish Betty Crocker, is in control, and I am her mere handmaiden of mixing and putting in the oven, right?

Oh HO!!!! Off comes the box top, with only a few hour of sundown to go (this is important), and.....

well, what would YOU expect from a normal sized pre-mix cake box?? I had given it no thought. You expect an egg carton to have a dozen eggs. You expect a cornbread mix to make a pan of cornbread.

These two boxes of cake each were bigger than the standard boxes. "AMPLE cake!" I thought. I expected nothing out of the ordinary, meaning enough for.....a CAKE.

...a standard sheet cake, two cake rounds, or a bundt.

You know the old canard about assuming. I had Assumed. Not only had I assumed, I had waited until the last minute to make the unfortunate discovery otherwise.

(sound of lumberjack yelling Tiimmmmberrrrrrrr....)

Here's the basic math of the big event:

1. I have to feed a crowd.
2. The box opens to reveal a tiny shallow foil pan, no larger than the box, with enough mix EZ Bake Oven. I'm sincerely not exaggerating. You could have cooked this over a 40 watt lightbulb.
3. I became vklempt. No heart monitor available, I gasp and stagger and issue a longggggg whisper of "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
4. I have fewer hours left to bake than fingers on one hand.
5. I am 10 minutes from the store and its quickly dwindling teensy Kosher for Passover section.
6. If THESE newly purchased heart failure cake mixes DON'T turn out, we'll be eating macaroons till we're singing the hatikvah.
7. Multiples boxes of cake AND macaroons AND every conceivable Kosher edible are wiped from the shelves by MOI to the disgrace of my budget and the amazement of the checkout employee.

The cakes, er Legos, did get baked.

I baked enough for a crowd, which is to say that a lot of eggs gave up their lives to overcompensate for leprechaun-size cake morsels.

But bake I did! And by sundown, even.

And they did get eaten. Serve enough macaroons, fruit and ice cream, and the size of the midget cakes gets, um, passed over.

But I'm still laughing about that I can laugh ;-)

There's so much more to write about the great things that happened at Passover, but I'm short of time. Just wanted to jot this "highlight"...I really need to get better at all this, but have no Bubbe-In-The-Kitchen to mentor me...arggghhh! :)

Not sure what my great feat will be next year at Passover, but I doubt I'll bring dessert.

Unless it's macaroons.

Monday, April 2, 2007

It's Seder Time!

Well, tonight it will be. And I'm almost there!

Next year....MORE ORGANIZED, MORE PREPARED (I say this every year, ha!)

I have to run to make these last hours count, but thought I'd share with you some of the delightful entries I've been following on a couple of favorite food blogs.

Deb at Smitten Kitchen has once again taken pictures of creations designed to make you instantly salivate and gain weight, just by looking! Her two entries for the Passover event are something I wish I'd been MORE ORGANIZED in planning ahead (see a theme here? ha) Seriously, I am truly going to try these...except when there's more time (because of becoming MORE ORGANIZED?) and there's no pressure that The Big Company Dessert might have an unexpected disaster (cake falls? won't come out of pan and falls apart? gets eaten by husband "by accident" before transporting it to friends' celebration?)

Deb again has de-mystified two desserts which, in my own thinking, were way beyond my basic kitchen prowess.

Here is her flourless and deadly chocolate wonder (do look, and'll see what I mean), and if that weren't enough, at the last minute she made this... lawdy, it's a Pavlova! You have to see the'll see why I'm willing to jump into the shark-infested waters of First Time Attempts when you see how easy she makes it look!

Secondly, Julie at Bad Home Cooking is having a smashing Seder, Morrocan style! See how the story unfolds here, from panic, to tagine, to shared genius!

All in all, gives me something to shoot for in future years, and plenty of dishes to practice in between.

Have a wonderful night of family and remembrance and food.

There is so much for which to be thankful!


Sunday, April 1, 2007


...ACK! I'm so behind, and it's MY fault. I'm supposed to be done with all the backed-up housework by now, or rather, I'm supposed to be a much better manager so that it doesn't get backed up at all. We did quite a bit of digging out today, but I'm slooowwwwwer than I thought I'd be, and I still have much staring me in the face before the Big Passover Deadline. A few hours and counting!

I can't clean without rearranging, and then I get into things like sorting through old magazines and throwing things out. Then you have to find something to do with THOSE piles and run them to Goodwill or wherever... :) There's a fine line between saving things for recycling and just collecting more piles of stuff. I'm getting better about getting rid of those "Someday" piles. I got overwhelmed trying to do too many projects today, and J took me out for dinner so I wouldn't have to worry about the kitchen tonight (it's still not all the way finished and I have everything dragged out all on the counters, eek). We had fun, and now I'm home, and the elves somehow did not find my kitchen and clean it while I was gone (why does the shoemaker have all the luck??)

New resolution of the resolution of the resolution of the resolution: Get better organized!

Gotta get back to it now. The main thing is to get everything clean and get all leaven-ly stuff out of the house. And to fix a week's food without any sort of leaven. Not so hard, but I have to concentrate since I haven't been doing this all my life and it's not second nature yet.

Garden update:

The raccoons have been using two of the boxes I had planted in peppers and eggplants for a sandbox. We'll see if anything dares to try sprouting in the next couple of weeks. Thankfully, so far they've left the other things unmolested.

The lettuce continues to grow great guns! Some of the mesclun leaflets are now a blush red color. It's all about 3-4" high and looking pretty healthy.

I'm having to water at least once a day, since everything's in pots or flats and is in partial shade, except the tomatoes, which are in nearly full sun. They seem to have hardened off fine, but I was a few hours delayed in their watering and they were stressing already. I'm going to have to be diligent, because it's looking like clear skies and high temps here for a while. No sign of rain yet.

The three fig trees we were wondering about, which we planted last fall and which had a few near-death experiences over the winter, seem to be bouncing back...again. J had mounded up so much soil at their bases that it looks like they're sprouting out of mini-hills in the backyard. I think I might sow nasturstiums around them to see if nasturstiums will grow from seed, and to utilize the soil there...everything else we have is hardpan, and we're short of amendments to "season" the soil with just yet. Just trying to use up what we have for now. I'm wondering if the figs will make it, and how much they'll grow this summer, if so.

I'm excited about the Romas. Yes, it's a little thing, getting excited about two tomato plants. They are the two that I had early this year that died back in our 3 days of freak freeze. 2 nights I remembered to cover them, but the third...ah...oops. They died back all the way to the ground. In my procrastination, I left the pot out there unattended, and they came back...and now we counted 21 green tomatoes chugging along. Hey, soon I might actually have enough things for our own homegrown salad! (this sounds like a hoot to you veteran gardeners! baby steps...)

I'll be able to focus on more fun gardening things soon, but first...duty calls. Procrastination has left the BEST for LAST tonight, of course! I GET to go iron work clothes, make lunches, clean the kitchen, and clear off the Odds and Ends Burial Ground (the kitchen table) ALL before bed...ha!

Tomorrow will be fun, though. I'll be making holiday food, and then we'll slow down and ENJOY the clean house and (somewhat) order, which is probably the whole point :)

Uhoh, need to take sheets out of dryer so hubby can SLEEP...

Blogging about organization was further procrastination??...arggh :)

Back when the floor's clean...