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Wednesday
Feb072018

A Mess Out There

It has been March for most of 2018. 

I know, it's not really March yet, but based on the weather, it certainly seems like it. March is the month of endless freezing and thawing, rain, sleet, snow, slush, and perpetually filthy cars. We have had that since about the second week of January. It makes me wonder what the actual month of March is going to bring. 

I am planning on doing some work in the sewing room tonight. I was too tired from driving when I got home on Monday. Yesterday afternoon, I went to town to get chicken food and human food and last night, I wanted to finish a really good book I was reading, entitled Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown:

I will read, eagerly, anything else that Amy Belding Brown writes. This was so good that I had trouble putting it down. That happens only rarely anymore. 

I'd like to start working on that Ravenwood Messenger Bag. The pattern has had time to marinate in my brain and I think I am ready to pick fabrics. The exterior will be sage green waxed canvas. I'll have to look at Jo-Anns this weekend (because I don't have any in my stash) for a nice flannel in shades of green and navy blue. Several of the sample bags used flannel for the lining and I thought it added a nice masculine touch. And it will let me experiment with topstitching on the sage green with navy blue thread for contrast. 

Even though I am not designing a bag, there are still a fair number of design decisions that go into making a bag. Chief of these is the fabric, of course, but there is also the lining, thread, and hardware to consider. I must miss designing at some level, because I really enjoy pondering those choices. 

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It's almost time to order seeds. I made a first pass through the Victory Seeds catalog last night and marked off all the staple crops—things we do year after year after year. I had a moment of panic when I couldn't find a listing for the Oregon Star paste tomato, but a check of their website indicates it is still available and in stock. I have tried all sorts of paste tomatoes—Amish Paste, Roma, San Marzano, etc.—and the only one that produces reliably for me is Oregon Star.  We'll add Cherokee Purples to that and maybe one other variety. I like a mix of varieties for my sauce. 

We're giving up on onions. They take a fair bit of space and they almost never do well. Ditto on carrots, at least for this year. The ground is too rocky and they require thinning and weeding. I can buy a 10# bag of organic carrots at Costco in the fall for canning. (I did that last year and we'll have plenty for another season yet.) 

The husband will have his cantaloupes and watermelons. I want to try out some dry shelling beans. We eat so many beans in soups and stews over the winter that it would be nice to grow our own. We planted one variety last year that did really well, but the plants got intermingled with other stuff and I didn't realize until it was too late that they were actually shelling beans and not eating (like green) beans. 

We will plant potatoes, of course, and cabbage and broccoli and shelling peas and zucchini and cukes and collards and swiss chard. Sweet corn. Pumpkins. Acorn squash for my sister. And lettuce—lots of lettuce. This is the time of year that I really start to miss salads. 

We've reserved another half dozen piglets for this spring. They will likely arrive in May. I would love it if some of my Buff Orpington hens would go broody and hatch out some chicks. We'll probably end up getting chicks, as we usually do, from the farm store, but honestly—the ones that the hens hatch out and raise themselves are much easier. And I need one or two replacement roosters. 

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A link to an article about working from home popped up in my Facebook feed this morning, so I went and took a look. I work from home. I can always use help on maximizing my time. The author of "10 Ways to Stay Motivated When Working From Home" had some interesting things to say. Some of the suggestions—get up early, make a schedule, get dressed in something other than PJs—I already practice. (I could be better about staying off Facebook.) When I got to suggestion #10, though, I just about spit coffee all over my computer monitor. "Have a side project to fill the dead space," the author suggests. After all, working from home and foregoing a commute can turn a 9-5 job into a 9-2 job, so it's important to make sure you have something to fill those three hours of dead space. 

DEAD SPACE? WHAT IS THIS "DEAD SPACE" THING OF WHICH YOU SPEAK?

Apparently there are people who work from home who—when their workday is done—spend 3+ hours binge-watching Netflix. I never seem to have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my to-do list. I would happily take those 3+ hours of dead space from those people and actually use it for something productive. 

Truly, people, don't waste oxygen. If you have that much free time, do something to improve yourself—or better yet, improve your community. Spend some time visiting residents at a nursing home. Volunteer at a food bank. Sew pillowcase dresses for naked little girls in Africa. I don't care what you do, but there are a thousand things better than binge-watching Netflix all afternoon.

What have we come to?

I have to say that my job, which I have always liked, has been even more enjoyable ever since Dr. Mumbling Dictator left the clinic. His absence has re-ordered the queue a bit and I am getting to transcribe doctors I haven't had quite as often. (I also suspect that there was some cherry-picking going on by some of the overnight people that resulted in the daytime transcriptionists getting left with the the lousy dictators.) And since I am not spending so much (unpaid) time trying to decipher what he is saying, I have days where I am making more money. 

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This is a longish post, but I will leave you with a picture of the husband working in the shop (he's not binge-watching Netflix):

He is in the process of welding a new bar at the end of the flatbed on his truck. Last fall, when he went to hook the gooseneck stock trailer up to this truck, he discovered that the bar that he had on the end of the flatbed didn't allow for enough clearance, so he's modifying it. It's good that he has a project out there, because #11 on my list of how to stay motivated when working from home is "Don't get distracted by the shiny toy." 

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Reader Comments (8)

I work from home, doing tech support for an ISP. It's an hour and a half commute each way to work, but the owner of the company has let me work from home for four years now. I seem to make it in to the office once a year for team meetings. I work a split shift, 8-1 then 4-7, to give them a bit more coverage. It gives me enough time in the middle of the day to do grocery shopping or have a doctor's appointment. I've always gotten dressed for work, although I sometimes don't brush my hair until mid day. I actually get more work done here at home than I do when I go into the office. And I never really get to talk to anyone when I am there.

As for free time to fill, we are getting two places ready to sell. I did find my cutting board this week, after painting my office, so I may be able to cut out some quilt patches this weekend. And I have two of my treadles moved back in. I really missed them. If we ever get the rest of the room finished, I'll move in two more treadles.

February 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNotsothoreau

We laugh at friends who spend time @ Starbucks (& such) because they have too much time on their hands since they retired. Husband is 82, I'm 73 & like you, we would love to have 3 more hrs. every day to do stuff! I've never been bored a day in my life. . . . - we've cut back on the animals - just our dogs, chickens & 2 horses. We still have plenty to do every day!

February 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarietta

Yay for acorn squash. I work from home and never have time for Netflix during the day. Who are these people? And, I volunteer in my free time. Sigh.

February 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterThe sister

Notsothoreau, thanks for visiting the blog and thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have a great schedule set up with that split shift. I totally get missing the sewing machines, too. Glad you were able to get at least a couple of them back in and sewing.

Marietta, the husband and I don't even use the word "retire." I think we'll both just work until we keel over. :)

I don't know how we forgot to plant acorn squash last year. The husband has a theory that the person who wrote that article was an intern or millennial and doesn't understand that some people actually use their waking hours for things other than binge-watching Netflix.

February 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Szabo

That's our plan too. Life's too short to not just "get after it". We've modified some stuff - we will plant this year in smaller quantities that are more manageable & are thinking about raised beds - to save our backs a bit. We are fortunate - with a long growing season here in GA. But it also makes for lots of work - but it's good work.

February 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarietta

Oh, and buff orpingtons. We used to have one we called Godzilla. She would raise two batches, nesting up in our goats' hay feeder. If you got too close to her when she had babies, she would come after you. We always worried about those babies getting down okay, since it was about a two foot drop to the ground. When it came time, they always made it okay.

I had another buff that sat a nest and the other hens kept laying in it. She hatched out 20 chicks! And she somehow managed to get all of them under her, although it wasn't easy. I love buffs. I have some old hens that really are stew pot material, but they kick out a few eggs so I leave them alone. Will be nice to get out of town and back where I can have roosters again.

February 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNotsothoreau

Oh, Teri, I didn't realize it was you, sorry! :) I think Buffs are my favorites. Last year's batch of Buff chicks are almost a year old and they should start setting soon, I hope.

February 8, 2018 | Registered CommenterJanet Szabo

I forget which blogs I use my alias on ;) I have three Americaunas and two Marans. I've never been impressed with the Americaunas. They seem to be seasonal layers. One of the Marans has gone broody in the past but not last year. I didn't know if I wanted to get new chicks or not. The last time I got them, I had them back in my office. It wasn't bad when they were young, but then I'd be talking to someone on the phone and they'd ask that that noise was in the background. It's bad enough when the dogs start barking, so I really don't need peeping chicks!

February 9, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNotsothoreau

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