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Monday, May 02, 2022

April 2022

 April was a busy month:

  • Bridal Shower for my friend Gina held at Tranquila Tea house in Waynesboro, PA
  • Violette's 10th birthday
  • A baby shower
  • Easter - where our church put on an Easter play, the first in two years of which my husband had a big part and had bi-weekly play practice for months.  
  • It finally warmed up enough to work on the camper every weekend that wasn't occupied by an event
  • Revival at church
I'm really looking forward to the month of May where we have considerably less on the calendar and more opportunity to make progress on the camper.  

One thing that is missing is gardening.  Usually late March/April is when we begin our seedlings indoors.  This year we are taking a break on gardening.  We've decided that based on the number of projects we are behind on, we need to reduce the number of projects and gardening is a big chore in terms of keeping up with weeding, trellising, harvesting, and canning.  

We were originally planning to go to Montana in June, as soon as school let out, but now my friend has moved her wedding a year so we are less pressed to leave early.  It's extremely fortunate for us because we did not make much progress in April on the camper rework.  More on that in a separate post.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Sustainable Choices ~ Earth Day 2022

We are still following our 2017 and 2019 lists and here are a few more ideas that are we've implemented over the years.

1. Borrowing books from the library, one book can be read by hundreds of people.  If you amortize the cost of the book into just one hundred people, book cost of $30, the cost is $0.30 per person.

2.  Reading digital books, no printing and no physical waste!

3.  Buy less products online.  There is so much waste involved in shipping a single item, if it can be bought at the store for a similar price to online, go get it while combining the trip with other needs.  

4.  Do not use plastic bags to hold produce unless it's "wet".  Wet examples include spices like basil and certain salads.  Anything that is loose such as bananas, avocados, apples, etc can sit in your cart and then get bagged at the cashier station in your own totes.  We wash everything at home, and we're careful in handling these items, so I see no need for an extra plastic bag.  I've been following this rule for many years with no damage to produce.

5.  We donate all clothes that are no longer wearable but are still in good condition.  I used to sell them through consignments but it got to be too much work.  

Goals for 2022:

1.  Take totes to all stores, despite getting 75% of our groceries from Aldi and Costco, the remaining 25% give us a ton of bags and since the pandemic it's becoming increasingly hard to find anyone who is still offering recycling bins.  

2.  I want to take a tour of our local recycling plants and learn more about it to make sure we are doing everything correctly.

3.  Switch to biodegradable trash bags.  I'm guilty of two things:

  • I buy the cheapest trash bags.
  • I use Target/Walmart bags for small trash cans
I've realized that while we have cut back significantly on our trash output, we still put at least one can out per week with 2-3 bags of trash inside. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Toys I refuse to buy my kids

Sorry kids, as you read this one day, I tried my best to indulge but some items are on the permanently banned list.  I'm sure you will understand once you have kids of your own one day.

1.  Easy Bake Oven - if they want to bake, follow me to the kitchen, I bake homemade breads, cookies and other desserts several times a week.  It's how I learned to bake.  I'm not buying into the packages of pre-made foods so they can dump in a few ingredients and pretend to bake. 

2.  Electric Scooters - I think they are ridiculous and miss the entire point of having a scooter, which is to exercise one leg and learn good balance.  If you hit a bump, fall, and get up without screaming, as my son did about a year ago, then you get huge props for endurance.  

3.  Radio controlled Drones - just what I need, an expensive toy that can be flown and crashed.  They can buy it when they grow up and appreciate the money spent.  Maybe they will be cheap enough to crash them at that point without any concern for the money spent.

4.  Hover boards - get over your fantasy of Back to the Future or buy it when you grow up.  I'm not spending ridiculous bucks so you can fall of a zooming board that rams into the neighbors house while you lie on the ground screaming after crashing into a tree or something.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Goodbye Mr. Peppers

Today we lost our sweet cat, Mr. Peppers.  He had a disease known as FIV, which is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus.  It's not very common, only about 2.5 - 4% of cats have this but it's passed through biting with outdoor cats and Mr. Peppers was a rescue cat.  We knew from early on that he had the potential to pass away quickly from an infection.

Six months ago he had a urinary infection and I was able to get him to the vet in time for an anti-biotic shot.  When it happened again this past week, I was hoping it would be the same, he'd get the shot and feel better.  He seemed to perk up for a few days and then today we could tell he was in quick decline.  I'm just glad he didn't suffer.

The kids took it very hard, several cried.  I took the day off work, it was very hard to concentrate.

Some of my best memories of Mr. Peppers:

* He could not meow, so he'd look up at us, catch our eye and then make these very cute little head movements to get our attention and get us to pet him, despite being a silent cat, he was able to communicate his wants and needs.

* He was very gentle.  One might expect a great outdoors-cat to be more rough, but he was very cautious and never aggressive at all. 

We've had him one year and six months.  I'm so honored to have been part of his cat family for the last part of his life.  

Monday, October 11, 2021

Summer/Fall Summary 2021

I haven't blogged in a really long time!  We had some big projects that took many weekends.  We helped my cousin move out of her home of 35 years.  She's the last family member left to live in this house so it was rather daunting to get through the collection of items that a family picks up over so many years.  We did two yard sales, many trips to the dump, packed boxes, cleaned, painted, fixed things and finally the house sold this past weekend.  I'm sure for my cousin it was an emotional journey, for me it was more of a tactical one in getting her relocated and working through all the details.  

After our work was done on my cousins house we were ready for a camping adventure.  On the appointed day we ran late packing and getting our camper ready which included a trip to the store for a hitch part that was suddenly on another vehicle at another location!  We left so late we had to get Chick Fil A for supper, so late we couldn't even cook when we got to the campground which was only 45 minutes way.  As soon as we hit the highway I looked in the side mirror and noticed the side of our camper was pulling away a good 6 inches from the frame!  We immediately went back to mom's house, ate our CFA and began planning the rework.  It was less involved than what we did to the front of the camper 2 years ago but extensive enough that it took about 4 weekends of non-stop work to complete.  Suffice it to say, no camping trips in the camper yet this year, but, my friend Gina did have us up for a weekend in August where she rented a cabin for us on a weekend when our SUV was broken, it needed a new head gasket and that took three weeks to repair.  So we took our entire camping gear in the back of our pick up truck, on a day that was threatening to rain all day, and some how made it there with dinner and food for the entire weekend!

It's been a crazy summer/fall to say the least.  

Next we have to rebuild the floor of the camper.  We didn't finish it correctly the first time.  I won't go into the details just now, it's a tale of too many things to do and not enough time to get to them, but it can't be put off any longer.

We want to use our camper for spring break next year and our summer trip to Montana so we will be working hard to finish the floors this fall.  We also plan to redo all the furnishings and repaint inside, it should look pretty awesome when finished.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

2020-2021 School Year is OVER!

 After I wrote my last post, my third born decided to return to school so I guess she had about six weeks with her class.  My oldest held out until the last two weeks of school and then returned for special events, some of which stressed her out and gave her headaches but she enjoyed being with her friends.  So even though it means kids are home again and I'm balancing work from home with them here, I'm happy to have them back.  Looking forward to a fun summer!  Also, no trip to Texas this summer, a break in a 6 or 7 year tradition.  I might need to go on a Tex Mex bender in July to compensate.  I'll learn how to make homemade tortillas and Pork Asada.  

Saturday, May 15, 2021

2021 Garden Update

May 15th - finally got all the plants in the ground.  We waited this long because the nights had been in the 40's and this is the first point where it seems to be solid 50's at night for the next 10 days.  I had excellent success with my seedlings, much better than last year, credit goes to heat mat and wrapping the plant stand in plastic with a heater in the room keeping temps in the 80's.  Once the plants reached a point where I could begin hardening them, my husband suggested I turn off the heater so they could get used to 70 degree temps in the house which were closer to what they'd experience during the day once planted outside.  I'd say they spent about a month in the super humid 80's environment and then 2-3 weeks re-potted and waiting to go into the ground.  I thought I started my seedlings late by starting April 11th but it turns out to be perfect for this year.

I also had the incredible fortune of turning one purple sweet potato into enough plants that I did not need to buy any, but I had placed my order back in February to Filaree Garlic Farm so I called and asked them to switch it to Beauregard sweet potatoes.  They couldn't have been nicer and made the switch so now I have to figure out where to put 12 more plants when they arrive.

The following is a photo of my purple sweet potato plants grown from one - just one - purple sweet potato!  I may never need to buy slips again!