Wednesday, 25 July 2012
The good and the bad
We've had our share of both around Little Home In The Country of late...
On the good side, we picked up some fantastic freeCycle finds recently! A load of new white soffit material (perfect for the shed we hope to build), plus several brand new very large plant pots and a large stash of concrete blocks. We also were given some green foam underlayment that's meant for installing under laminate flooring, but it also works very well for insulating things, so I happily accepted it. It was quite the hilarious sight to watch us loading this soffit into my Suburban... The picture shows the view from the (dusty) rear door opening - the soffit ran up over 3 rows of seating and as it's VERY long (10' or 12' lengths?) it JUST fit when pushed right up to windshield!
As mentioned yesterday, and in previous posts, I love the community of freeCycle. Although bartering is not permitted, in a way, freeCycle is sort of like that. We offer up things we are done with and ask for things we need (although not in the same post). It's a truly brilliant way to help one another and build a sense of community, while not adding to the global waste problem. I love the people connection as well - many people pop their heads out to "meet" you during a pick up which I really like. That personal connection is important in building up the community.
Recently, I posted to give away a large garbage bag of clothing that our 19 year old son, Ian had outgrown. It's all perfectly usable clothing in good condition and the same woman who picked up 2 boxes of teen clothing from us 6 months ago, is coming once again for this lot. The cycle of giving and receiving continues...
In other not so good news...
A failed batch of soap recently put a real damper on my enthusiasm for soap making. Pride comes before a fall, it is said and I do believe that to be true, LOL. I confidently mixed it all up just as my other successful batches, and was so discouraged at the results. It reached trace, but it looked "odd" and somehow liquid-y in spite of reaching trace... I've made this recipe quite a few times before and never had a moment's trouble with it, so I'm not sure what the problem is. I suspect something along the lines of moisture in the lye (per a suggestion from a member on the Down To Earth Forum). I'll have to give re-batching a go, but true to form, I'm procrastinating about dealing with it and both batches are STILL sitting on my laundry counter 2 weeks later. URGH! Please chime in if you can advise me on re-batching :)
And on to the gorgeous turnips that taste HORRIBLE!
My inexperience in growing turnips has shone through this week. The whole beautiful row is inedible due to extreme bitterness. I tried boiling and roasting, and also peeling quite a lot of flesh off, but the verdict is in - they are chicken fodder! I realize now that I should have grown this crop later in the season so that they would be subject to sweetening frosts... There's no way I could leave them in the ground until then as they were so huge, they would have been woody monsters come frost!
2 nights ago we were battered by a fierce summer storm, which on the prairie can be a devastating occurrence. High winds forced torrential rain and hail (literally) sideways onto the front of our house - it sounded like the glass was going to shatter! I had to quickly prepare our space under the stairs as we were under tornado watch. Of course, all of this happened the evening that Kelly left to go back to work, so I was on my own trying to covertly prepare for a tornado while keeping an eye on the sky and the weather alerts without alarming the children! We had enough time to batten down the hatches so to speak before the storm hit and fortunately, no damage was done to the house but the garden is battered. It's alive, but it's battered and I need to get in there and clean up the mess. *sigh* There are plants that need pulling up and some that need cutting back to rid them of damage. The chickens will be feasting for the next week for certain!
Add in to the mix, a hefty and unavoidable repair/maintenance bill on our 8 year old vehicle (that sucked all the money we had tucked aside) and you'll know what I'm feeling a little battered at the moment. Certainly none of these things are really important in the grand scheme of things, as we have each other and our health, but sometimes I wonder why things go sideways all at once! The lesson learned is to get up and try again.
I'm behind on a million things, but that is the season we are in... the house isn't looking it's best, and our meals have been very spartan affairs indeed, but such is life in the throes of the growing season here on the prairie!