Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dark spots and bright spots

This is my favorite piece of broadcasting reflecting on 9/11.
When it all happened, I was a Therapist in Watertown, NY.  A coworker (who happened to be a nun) told me.  I told her she was putting me on. It did not seem believable.  Shortly afterwards, the fighter jets scrambled out of Ft. Drum.  Being near the base we were used to maneuvers, but never so many at once. 

I went to NYC with the Red Cross as a Mental Health Technician.  It was several weeks later and they were rotating in fresh responders.  No one was cheering when we came.  The city was angry, tired, and grey.  People were on edge if the subway stopped and anthrax letters were all over the news.  I was assigned to Service Center #2 on Canal Street.  We worked hard.   I learned a lot.  I will never forget it.

Kiddo was just a hope at that point.  Now she is the center of my universe.  As I type this, she is playing on  her computer.  She is wearing a bunny costume and humming to herself.
I made her a Simple Yet Effective Shawl using two skeins of yarn that she gave me for my Birthday.  I alternated 2 rows of each skein.  I did not want big fat bands of color at the beginning and then really narrow bands at the end.  It still does that a bit, but it is not as pronounced.  I used every inch of yarn and Jenny's Suprisingly Stretch Bind Off.  It is very stretchy, but it uses a TON of yarn.  Even more surprising, she likes it.
So I guess there are dark days and bright ones.  From where I sit right now, the view is a pretty good one.

Oh, I'm still trying to do one little bit of decluttering each day.
Wednesday:  I washed the back screen door.  I figure decluttering grime counts
Thursday: pulled 7 old sweaters to make into a blanket and found a bag of donation stuff in the attic.
Friday: emptied a bin in the basement.
Saturday: went through everything in kiddos dresser.  That was a big one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vegging Out

Today was kiddo's 1st day of school.  Yesterday, I pretty much let her do whatever she wanted.  I offered to go play out and about but mostly she wanted to watch TV and play with her dolls.  I'm okay with that.  I think that sometimes you just need a day to veg out.  
 I veg'ed out too.  I have been roasting and freezing tomatos all summer.  The freezer basket was getting full.  On top of that, my Mother-in-Law brought tomatos from the Farmer's Grandfather.  I like that the sauce will have a few varieties of tomatos.  I think it adds some depth of flavor.  I also like that with Grandpa's tomatos it's like a family sauce.  In the end I had A LOT of tomatos.  They filled 2 stockpots.  It took forever to run them all through the food mill.  Do they make electronic food mills?  We cranked on and off for an hour or so until they had all been through.  They filled the big stock pot to within 2 inches of the brim.

The next step is to let the whole thing simmer down 'till it is reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 volume.  This is where I cheated.  I let it simmer and steam until it was reduced by a few inches.  Then, I added 4 cans of tomato paste.  Blasphamy, I know.  The paste thickens the sauce.  I get more sauce and don't have to wait until 9 pm to can.  A trick in the canning sauce is to line up all of your jars and add the lemon juice to all of them at once.  That way, you do not need to rack your brain trying to remeber if you added it or not.  It's in there.  I got 11 quarts.  That is the most ever!  I am a happy camper.
I did some decluttering too.  Lying on the basement floor in front of the canning shelf was the cardboard tray that had been under a litter box.  When Ella died, we consolodated the boxes.  Somehow that tray never got tossed.  It was like it had become a fixture and I no longer saw it.  I decided that the focus of the day would be the basement floor.  With the monster project of the sauce going on upstairs, I wanted something quick and simple.  How bad could it be?

We live in filth.  Well not really, but it was bad enough.  There was more stuff than I thought there would be.  Stuff down there feels damp and dirty.  Anyway, the tray is gone, as are some other misc boxes and random objects.  You know how metal coffee cans are so great for storing stuff?  I found 7 empty ones that I had taken down there just in case.  Several were a rusty and cob-webby.  Ick.  They are now in the recyling bin.  Also in the bin is an empty bottle of laundry detergent that I found under the table that lives next to the washer.  We have been making our own laundry soap for the past 2+ years so who knows how long that bottle has been there?  There were 5 stray socks hiding under there as well.  The best things I found were about $2.30 in loose change and an escapee wool dryer ball. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The State Fair and a really nasty laundry basket

We went to the New York State Fair in the rain yesterday.  We used to have umbrellas and ponchos.  Used to. I looked all over for them with no luck.  But, I did find the missing laundry basket in the garage.  
The Fair is nice in the rain.  It is cool and uncrowded.  There are still more people than I would like, but it is way better than when the sun is out.  The Fair is huge and there is no way to see it all.  Wear comfortable shoes.  I like how there is a big emphasis on agriculture and there is a whole building devoted to poultry and bunnies.  There are enormous cows.  We went to a talk given by one of the Veterinarians of the Bronx Zoo.  There are historical demonstrations.  I learned how to make soap by watching the demos at the fair.   The kid likes the rides.  Of course there is weird fair food.  
Jumping really high!
Rolling around in a giant inflated hamster ball in a big pool.  She was really tired after that one.
After we got home, I decided my de-cluttering task would be re-claiming my laundry basket from the garage.  The Farmer used it to clean out the car sometime in the spring.  For some reason, he stopped in the middle and left the basket in the garage.  In it was: his winter coat, a bunch of papers from school and when the car went in for repairs, and unfortunately at least three lunches that he took to school but did not eat, as well as the fast food trash from what he ate instead. Phew!  I threw it all out containers and all.  The coat got washed by itself.  It was gross but the worst of it was done in about 4 minutes.  At the end of the day, his coat got washed and put away, a few papers got filed, a bag of trash was tossed ad I got my laundry basket back.  

What nastiness lurks in your garage?  Oh and one last pic.  She loves the vibrating foot massages.  Pure bliss.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm liking the declutter thing

I know it's only day three.  And actually we went to the fair yesterday and I came home with a headache and went straight to bed so I didn't do any yesterday.  So really, it's day 2.  To make up yesterday I did a double.  

I'm not going to post pictures of this because I want you to picture your space not mine.  The point is this is not for you to feel better because your house is tidier than mine.  It probably is.  The point is that most of us have too much crap and this might motivate you to let go of just a little bit of it.

The first target was  one of the kids bins.  I dumped it and collected her yarn, beads and crafty stuff in it.  There were a few items of trash, and a few things to be put away elsewhere: a dirty sock, a dog toy, and two pencils.  Not as much discarding as I might have hoped, but every little bit counts. While I was sitting on the floor, I also consolidated the toys that were in two cardboard boxes back into her other bins.  This is a tiny dent in the toy mountain, but every little bit helps.

Picture your child's toys here

I have a love-hate relationship with cardboard boxes.  A few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of putting all of her toys out on the porch in boxes.  The plan was that as kiddo went and got things out of the boxes to play with we would put them away in the permanent bins.  Anything still left on the porch at the end of the month would be donated or tossed.  Sounds great in theory.  What actually happened is that the porch is now trashed and boxes got brought into the house and a moat formed around her regular toy bins.  Not so good.  No cardboard box storage in the living room.

The next target was the bottom drawer of my dresser.  As I got dressed today, I noticed that I had to move two pairs of pants that I don't like to get to the shorts that I wanted to wear.  Why are their pants that don't fit right in my dresser?  So I sorted.  I donated 3 pairs or pants and found 3 pairs of shorts that I would wear buried in the back.  I also found hair ties that I was looking for this morning and extra shampoo and hair care stuff buried in there.  Why?  That's now in the bathroom and off the grocery list.  Is de-cluttering going to save us some money?  Lastly I got to throw out a whole mess of stuff that I won't ever use.  There is a whole lot more room in the drawer now.

What does your bottom dresser drawer look like?

I know I'm bouncing around and I figure that that is okay.  The point is to just do some.  Let's see how long I can keep it up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Farm has too much stuff

Three nights in a row I have had to tell the kid to clear a path through the living room to get to the stairs.  We have tried to de-clutter.  We took a big load of toys to Tales and Toys.  It was great.  We cleared out some big stuff and she got new (to her) toys that she will play with.  I labeled 2 boxes: "Donation" and "Toys for Trade."   A week later and not much has found its way to the boxes.  There is just too much.  I find it oppressive.  I have a hard time concentrating.  The magnitude is overwhelming. 
I know the key is to do a little at a time.  I have been thinking about this for a while.   I make plans.  I don't follow through.  Flylady says that you cannot clean clutter.  You have to get rid of it.  She is right. 

Tonight, while again thinking about this issue, I decided to stop thinking and start doing. I was standing in front of the bookcase at the time.  I was going to just do one shelf of the bookcase.  I wound up doing the whole thing.  I pulled 6 books to let go, 2 paid bills from 2008, a case for Christmas cartoon DVDs, and a goodbye card from when I left a job in 2004.  I put away some lotion, cards, and bags to give away soap in.  I checked the books at Cash4Books but they were not buying any.  It took 6 min.  The shelves are less full and the house is a few pounds lighter.

Maybe I can keep doing a little bit each day and blog about it? Go let go of something.  You will feel better.  Maybe I will feel better once I tackle the moat around the TV in the living room.