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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back to the Plan

Well, I guess an update is in order. A few short days after my last post I was taken ill and spent over a week in the hospital. My lung had collapsed. Apparently my years of smoking and my awful cold contributed to my spontaneous pneumothorax. It was awful, but I made it through it. I am still struggling with my addiction to tobacco, my feelings of angst, and a rather hefty hospital bill! :) But ..... I made it through it, so that is what I have to focus on.  I have to not worry about it, and concentrate on what is good, and how I can keep it so.

After my return home, and a few weeks of recovery, I started to cooking a lot of comfort foods. How cliche to eat instead of smoke, but it was just how I felt I wanted to spend time. those first weeks I made a lot of good meals.... Chicken cutlets with pork tenderloin red sauce, Lasagna, Stroganoff, Salisbury steak..... I started to bake dinner rolls and biscuits...then became more daring and tried my hand at sour dough....then deserts, yes cookies, that is easy...but also French Silk Pie....Mmmmmm...that's my husband's favorite.  And it began to occur to me that even though I have spent my life skinny, (and that is partly to blame for my lung collapsing) I am gaining weight after I stopped smoking. Granted, I am cooking all the time...but I always have. It's still the tail end of winter in the Midwest, so outdoor activity has come halting...so that may contribute too...but I think a lot of it is that we are just getting older. We may be wiser, I am not sure...but the older...that is a measurable event.
But I found some great sites while searching for my comfort in foods....some helpful advise is so great....

http://cookistry.blogspot.com/2011/03/technique-troubleshooting-dough.html
I keep returning to this one just to read about the breads! LOL, it's really a great start.
Thefreshloaf.com this one was pretty great, too.

I keep thinking "we HAVE to get that house done!"...it is costing us everyday we stay here! And it makes everyone miserable daydreaming about it.
I keep thinking "I won't be here forever".....I better enjoy NOW, NOW, or I may never have a chance. And I keep thinking, "you will be a better farmer without cigarettes....GET OVER IT!!!" So I will try!

I have been thinking of a few things I love....and remodeling is so a part of us (my husband and I). Last night I saw the best episode of  "I hate my kitchen" on DIY Network. Although I would not do exactly what that couple did, and I don't have a $21,000 budget...I DID love some of their choices. Green glass tiles, an integrated compost bucket (at over $300...GEEZ!) The stainless open shelving was AWESOME, although I would never do it....and a BEER TAP in the kitchen!!! YA! Now THAT, is right up my alley!!!
Well, except that mine will be in the breakfast bar section of the kitchen/dining.....
They used a bright green paint on the walls, which I LOVED...and it got me thinking about the colors of my space...hmmm....not a lot of walls in there....But I really loved the space...

but what was really cool was the magnetic primer they used under it.  After several coats of the primer, which was infused with iron....they used their walls as a magnetic board...it was pretty neat!!
It's all in the imagining how you will live in the space...what you can do to it, how you can change it to fit your needs.


Then I kept watching DIY Net...just because...I watched until it was pretty late.  I am a HUGE fan of the "crashers" series...BUT, I know I would never be so lucky as to get crashed...I really would love to...I even know their names...I think (Matt Muenster, Amed Hassan, and Josh Templeton...well, I think anyways!)
I like the shows because the remodels are FAST, the are SWEET looking, and they are FREE even though the materials they use (at least Matt always hooks it up) are CUTTING EDGE, and very PRICEY. So nice....so so nice! I know that there are other great shows on DIY, but the Crasher are my top pic...and Rehab Addict would be up there, too...because I really really love how Nikki preserves historical integrity. my husband says we are a lot a like, physically and otherwise! ;) Mostly because we both tend to have dark circles under our eyes, LOL and we are very petite ladies...well, some of us USED to be! LOL

So I am getting RE-motivated about the house....AND THE PROSPECT OF SPRING.


Right now we are in the process of wiring. We are making home runs, running the lighting circuits, installing can lights, receptacle and switch boxes, fan mounts.....We are making final decisions about the lay out....We are getting closer...and I love it.  HUGE things are coming....HUGE.  And with it, a huge amount of stress, too.  It is going to be a long process.....and I am realizing that it may take us until fall to complete the project.  Over a full year...but that is ok....I knew that things NEVER go to plan, and when your plan is as loose as ours....well, it's more likely to meander to the destination.  But it is all for the best.

I have pondered where to garden...here or there? And I decided HERE! and maybe THERE!!
I already have so much in place here, it is too much to ignore the plots out there. I figure, if nothing else, if we decided to take the cinder blocks from this garden, to start the next, what is stopping the plants in place from growing??  Not a thing!!
So I planted. I planted potatoes at the first of March, and the other day I covered them with compost. They were culled red norlands from the restaurant that my FIL works at.  Which is DOUBLE great...for one, they were free, normally you pay about $4 for 10 seed potatoes. for another, they are ORGANIC and LOCAL....so...TRIPLE GREAT!!!!
Audrey and I threw out some onion family seeds by the garlic and chives, and I figure we can plant tomatoes in the back of that bed.
The bean bed of last year, we threw down some seeds, too. carrots, peas, spinach...and I can't wait for it to grow.  I don't know why I planted the peas. Neither of my kids will eat them...Audrey seems to be writing off anything green, and Chas, being so sophisticated, informed me that he prefers canned, because he likes the mushy texture, I suppose. Last night I made him eat asparagus...I dumped cheese sauce on it, and he said it still wasn't enough...I thought it was good though!! When he is older, I think he will change his mind....
The only other thing I have to harvest now is chives, which I did, and ate sour cream and chive potatoes for several days. The other day I broke down and bought some store produce...HOW IT KILLS ME TO EAT A MEXICAN TOMATO IN MISSOURI, I cannot describe to you...HOW UNFAIR that the tomato gets to vacation in the heart of the Ozarks, and I don't get to go to Cozumel....seems sort of backwards to eat that way.....     : ->
Anyways, I splurged....I bought a $6 T-Bone....yum...OMG, yum...how this Texas girl "loves me some steak!!". And I had to have salad with it....so off we went, and this was one expensive trip to Dillon's. Red leaf lettuce is $2, $1.50 avacado (the exception to mexican and south of mexico produce!!), Spinach $3, tomato $1.50, cucumber $.99......but it was really really good. I topped this with my home made garlic bread croutons, and some onion parmesian dressing.....man that was good! Now I crave the spinach....
I have always always loved spinach. even the mushy canned stuff, and as I got older, learned how much I LOVE the butter taste of fresh spinach....I use it in place of lettuce, by preference at Subway, and at home!!
speaking of; I made a WONDERFUL sandwich with my (store bought) french bread. YUM!! I was telling my son this last night and he said he wanted to try it. (glad he said so as I sliced the other half of the loaf for garlic bread to go with our alfredo linguine....I had to use up that whipping cream, so we won't eat it anymore! LMAO) He thought it sounded good...so I saved him two slices for today's lunch.  I asked if he wanted lettuce, he says yes, but no to the spinach...well, I snuck it in there anyways.  I just don't see how he could tell the difference, it's green, it's crunchy and it has iron, not just water!! I do LIKE lettuce, but it is kinda worthless nutritionally...I LOVE spinach...and I don't mind tricking him into eating it.
SO that was my story...
1. I miss my garden and eating foods I GREW...there is SOO much pride in that...it makes me wish I grew that T-Bone, too!
2. I love making breads, and utilizing them for other things. I really enjoyed the french bread sandwich more that a sliced loaf bread sandwich. I really liked getting to use my croutons, they had been in the container for ages, waiting on a salad...and they were really good, I was amazed. they were just cut up, left over garlic bread! nothing special.  Just cut ....

This makes me think...(everything does!)
It makes me think about the next year, and the one after that. It makes me think about how a few years ago, well even last year, at this time...I had nothing to harvest....and although I only have a very few things at the moment...its that many more than before. Just asparagus and chives. But I know that asparagus and chives will live on in the garden until I choose to change it.  And in future years, i could possibly have clamped potatoes to go with my chives...EVEN BETTER, to have FRESH MILK, from the farm, for the sour cream, and butter.....HOW WONDERFUL IS THAT TO DREAM??  And the way I see it, it's not that far fetched. I mean, how many dairy's are in my neighborhood?? How far is Memory Lane?? It's not very far....8-10 miles, maybe.

I just want you to know that I am serious.  This makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to imagine...ONLY EATING LOCAL.
no mcdonalds.
no taco bell.
no kfc.

WHAT DO THOSE PLACES HAVE THAT I DON'T HAVE????
Msg, preservatives, to start...
and how far away did the chicken travel....HOW MANY TIMES DID IT CROSS THE ROAD?????

I have proven to myself that I don't need it...and now I am beginning to realize that I don't want it either.
I want my own foods. I want then to travel less than 15 miles to get to my plate.  I want them to be thought through meals, intentional. Things I want, things I crave.
I don't CRAVE a big Mac. I don't need dehydrated refried beans and sour cream that comes out of a caulk gun. (check it out next time you visit the "Bell"). I am not opposed to dehydration...but I just think that we sacrifice so much for convenience and not having to over think anything about life day to day. It's silly.
That is not the message that I am trying to teach my kids, and my family and friends.

I believe that the "day to day" deal...that IS life. You have to embrace it all for what it is. you have to enjoy every day, the good the bad and the ugly. And when it's bad and ugly, you have to make it good. And that is what makes a person good, that they keep aiming for something better. this happens to be my something better.

I enjoyed that spot on "I hate my kitchen" for a few other reasons too.
1.) I love hippies! Especially ones that can pull off a great set of nappy dreads. It may not be everyone's taste. but I find it adorable.
2.) I love organic gardening and composting and they made a point to talk about it repeatedly. Organic isn't just a trend...it's the right thing to do...but it has become awfully trendy....I'm just saying!
3.) I liked that the couple was artish...the guy was more clean cut, and the girl was a total hippie....reminds me of stories about the 60's....geez....but that is the type of couple I can relate to...complete opposites...coming together...that's the stuff I love!
4.) I loved the incorporation of RECYCLED materials...the countertops...well, it's kind of ridiculous that it's MORE expensive than granite and marble. They used those great mosaic backsplash tiles that I can't wait to get my greedy little hands on!! (thankfully that can wait virtually forever!) They even used a light cover from a stop light...( I have NO clue where you can purchase that)....all these things...are so GREEN. And of course...bamboo flooring...the greenest we know of at this time in history. It was well thought, for this couple.
5.) the chickens...I really loved the chickens...the fact that they showed them (and the plants) so much. they spotlighted the eggs, the compost, the garden ...and the chickens....they spotlighted a lifestyle that to some seems weird or farfetched....but to me...it looked like the life I have been dreaming of....
collecting veggies from the garden., and eggs from the chicken coop, feeding them scraps and grains I grew...composting, in a stylish way ( I currently use coffee cans and creamer cans...a far cry from the posh set up they had!!) They spoke not only of their beer brewing, organic gardening, chicken raising and canning...They spoke of a lifestyle that I love...that I want.

What I didn't like:

  • $300+ for a in counter compost bucket??? that is just stupid
  • over priced materials abound. the custom cabinets, crazy faucet, and upgrading appliances that seemed to me to be just fine.
  • they did not speak of reusing any of the old cabinets. not even in the basement (duh) or garage. Bad Hippy!
  • I wanted to see a bay window for their seed starting OR an outdoor cold frame or hotbed nearby to the kitchen. I think that was a major part of their lifestyle...and I hate it when the kitchen is so nice no one wants to use it!! I think that kitchens should be designed to use the hell out of them. They need to be beyond durable...they need to be well planned for the uses of the owner. Not general purposed for everyone. This couple needed a place to germinate that was out of the way of the countertops...
  • I liked some of the open stainless shelving...BUT...it seems like they wasted a lot of space on pilsners...it made me feel like they drank more than they ate! There were some oddly placed things. Spices all over instead of jsut by the stove.  Beer by the sink, but I don't know where exactly the compost was...it was a little strange....but over all, it was OK
I gotta go now...but these are just some of my recent thoughts....
I will get back on task soon, but I have croutons and crumbs to make today, dishes and loaundry to do, and another child to transport to school and back, and dinner to plan!  So much to accomplish each day...let's get to it!

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