Boy have I learned a lot this past month! We have been very busy with family visiting here and I have enjoyed seeing everyone in person, during this time we have been doing a household water study and doing a Tasha Tudor Month of cooking.
Our washing machine has been out of order for the last three weeks now. Thus the previous posts about hand washing laundry.
I explained to the family that was staying over that we are doing a household water study, learning how much and where our water was going and what we can do to reduce what we use. We are also doing a fun Tasha Tudor cooking month and all of our meals are from the Tasha Tudor family cookbook, just because we want to. Everyone became involved and used water carefully and really enjoyed the Tasha Tudor Meals. :)
I have been working on less is more, I did accomplish my task of finding most everything a place but that made the drawers, closets and cabinets a bit cramped. Now I can start sorting those places that all the "Stuff" went and thinning it down. I have been on a forever organizing challenge but as time is going by anyway so might as well keep going no matter how long it takes.
My Niece asked me, how do I keep my house so clean? So I take that as I am making progress. :) It had been a very long two years since I had seen her.
Well the Tasha Tudor cooking got off to a late start, we were a week into June when I actually got started so I decided to make July the official Tasha Tudor month.
My friend Sheri mentioned the name Tasha Tudor one time a good while back and I was not familiar with this name. I knew all about Beatrix Potter but not Tasha Tudor. So I started doing some research about her and learned about how she wrote many Children's books and I became very interested in her very old fashioned life. I purchased a Tasha Tudor Cookbook and love the simple meals. I even decided I could almost get rid of all my cookbooks and just keep this one.
I am not affiliated in any way with this book, I am just sharing what I am doing.
I have made the stew, the apple dumplings, the chicken, rice and carrots and many other meals. This is just a fun thing to do, I just like to keep life interesting.
Just this past Sunday I made apple dumplings for breakfast to celebrate July Birthdays as my Brother, Sister-in-law, Niece and Great Niece were visiting.
As many of you know that follow my blog this is not our typical breakfast. I had made two apple dumplings last month from the Cookbook and so I thought what a special breakfast this would be for the family. When I cooked just two of them the time in the book was just right to make the apples soft and tender but when baking many of them, more time is needed.
I did some re-arranging again so we could let out a cot for My Great Niece Ashlyn that is now 12 years old already! Her sister Lauren, that just graduated high school is away on a mission trip so we did not get to see her. :( We live in a small house with small rooms so I move things often hoping that one day everything will stay put. I am about to get to that point hopefully.
We have a camping cot and two pieces of 3 inch foam that goes on top of the foam pad that comes with the Coleman cot. I put a mattress pad on top of that and it makes a very comfortable bed.
My mending bag has gotten bigger, so I will just wait until winter to even think about getting into this. It used to be in a box so now I have a nice deep basket for it since I feel I will most likely always have mending.
I have been doing some deep thinking lately while cooking and hand washing laundry...
Mostly about what is important.....
I have found that living our old fashioned life is very important and Charles and I both want to continue on this journey inching ourselves to more permanent old fashioned, more like the past life.
Many of you have been reading my blog for a long time and some of you have and are reading the posts backwards from the beginning until now and have seen how we have progressed into our living more old fashioned life.
We have been working on the outside to make more permaculture. That is having trees and bushes and plants that produce food. They know when spring comes how to produce their fruits or when it is time for the herbs to emerge year after year. We just need to prune and feed. I have talked about this before but now we are doubling down.
Making ourselves less dependent on the grid so we only use minimal. It takes a lot of practice to work out a routine. I am having to find ways to do it different than I used to do this when I was younger. I don't have the same strength but that does not mean I cannot do this. If there is a will there is a way.
Every time I don't use an electrical appliance I feel empowered. I am actually getting stronger mentally and physically. I do have very sore muscles right now because I just hand washed 4 sets of sheets from 3 guest beds and one set from our bed, plus towels, wash clothes and other laundry by myself so that would make anyone sore. I filled both clotheslines and then used the folding racks for the overflow. This morning I washed two small loads to keep on top of it.
I am mentally stronger because I have a better perspective of things now. What is going on in our country does bother me, it puts me in a bad mental place. I do my best to not talk about this on my blog. I feel it is making a lot of people sick, not just me.
Charles and I were starting to become stressed just talking among ourselves about the happenings in Washington. Our blood pressure was higher, we even found we were raising our voices about it. I will not be surprised if I found out people are dying of government stress disorder!
We had to do something, we stopped listening to the radio and I have had to break my habit of reading the news. I just cannot do it anymore but everywhere we go we get bombarded with news because many places now have televisions in lobbies. Even doctors offices waiting areas. Maybe the drug companies are putting the televisions in the offices for free so we can watch the news while we are waiting for the doctor and our blood pressure can be up high when we finally get in to see the doctor and then the doctor can write a prescription for blood pressure medication. Did I say that? Charles changed barbers because the place he went had a television set on a continuous news station that kept repeating news. The new barber he uses now does have a television but it is set on the discovery channel. :) He feels less stressed now and I love the way the barber cuts his hair. :)
I feel that my washing machine breaking down is a good thing. It has made me very busy and challenges me. I work out my frustrations on dirty laundry!
What I am doing here at our home gives me control over something. It makes me realize I must focus like never before to be as independent as I can be. Charles feels the same way, he has been very busy at work and when he gets home. He is getting ready to build a new work bench for his small shop. He has been helping with the gardening we both feel the need for us to grow at least part of our food.
We purchased some more of the cattle troughs for our raised beds because as we are getting older we think about the difficulty of replacing the wood raised beds later on. So we are setting these cattle watering troughs around the yard in good places where the sun is good for gardening. One will be used for a herb garden for the more tender herbs, we will still have our perennial plants, herbs, trees and bushes, our low maintenance food, and the rest of the troughs will be for growing onions, beets, turnips, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, beans etc.
Soon we will be planting in them for fall gardening.
I am much more focused because the people running our country broke me mentally for a little while, at least until I got my footing back so to speak. I actually find that I shake when I hear political news so it is like a bad drug we need to get off of. I stopped all soda and caffeine and processed junk food so I can stop news. I still get an occasional news assault but I am trying desperately.
I have determination to make our home that one place we can restore and live in harmony. I will focus on our home, our neighbors and family.
Everyone that came to visit could not believe how much weight Charles and I have lost since we saw them last. It is amazing what can be done when we make up our minds on what we are going to do. Charles dropped his cholesterol to a normal range with diet, not medication. He was told he needed to take the medication but he did not want to do this, when he went back to the doctor, the doctor did a double take at his labs and questioned was he on cholesterol medication? He told him no, he was eating better and the doctor told him whatever you are doing keep doing it. Everything on his report was in normal limits.
We went on an elimination diet to get the inflammation down in both our bodies and to determine what might be bothering Charles skin and psoriasis and my issues. While doing this we lost a lot of weight.
When my brother came for a visit, he said, you told me about Charles losing weight, but you never mentioned you! Wow, you two look good! :) We are more fit from hard physical work.
This was from making up our minds to take control of things. So far I cannot change all of my health issues but I have changed some.
Remember when I posted this picture above? I was talking about washbowl baths like they did in the past. I discussed my left knee and leg kept swelling, I didn't mention how painful it was but since I have lost a good bit of weight, my leg does not swell anymore nor my ankles and I have no pain in my knee. ;)
And the washbowl bath will get you clean with little water....
We journal the water we use, (we read our water meter), the electricity (we read our electric meter), we journal the food we buy, (the grocery budget journal), we put every bit we can in savings and we spend money on the things that will help us later on to save money. I love writing down the money we spend on groceries because we have it all in a book and we can look in the book for the prices of things when working on a grocery list.
To live a more sustainable life we need the tools to do this. Hand washing laundry for example we need buckets and for me a spinner/wringer to get the water out.
We need tools for gardening, we need tools to do our own repairs. It is very expensive to hire everything done so everyone needs tools to do the things that we can do. We need notebooks to write down our expenses. Once we get the tools, by saving on other things to afford them, we will have them for repeated uses.
Some people would never do this because it is just natural now for people to live just swiping a credit card and buying what they want and never actually see where the money is going until money gets tight and they cannot pay off what they charged. We need to know where every penny goes and what it was for.
My Mama and Papa H. knew how to live a normal life without electricity and running water. That was just how it was then. It wasn't and easy life but maybe that was why they lived so long. It seems to me that most everyone is dying younger now. Maybe easy street takes us to the end of the road? I will try to stay off easy street and just do things the old way as long as I can.
When that washer gets repaired I may use it to wash the heavy things like blankets and sheets, but right now it will be hard to go back because I am in control of how clean they get and I like that. I also like having what we wore and used yesterday washed and dry the next day. I like hand washing dishes because I can wash them and dry them and put away right then and be done. I like seeing our utility bills reduced.
When I go outside and watch nature, the birds especially, they teach me about life. They can fly thousands of miles in migration and fly back to the same tree many months later. They know how to take pieces of things and build them a home and do an amazing job.
I want to do better for them, I want to protect them for if they are gone we are in big trouble. Everything we do, everything we use, everything we throw away changes something. I don't hear the Whippoorwill anymore, I never hear a Bob White Quail, I never see lightening bugs here anymore. We should all be more gentle, be less noisy, try and use less for our health and for nature.