Good Morning. The cookie jar, as you can see, is woefully empty at the moment. I keep meaning to fill it with homemade goodies but you know I've been bitten by a desire to clean and decorate and cozy up my home for the long months ahead. Of course, I'm anticipating cooler weather which usually doesn't arrive as soon as I'd like.
I looked about me a couple of weeks ago. The lawn was scattered with leaves from the trees, goldenrod was just budding to bloom in the fields surrounding the house, the sun was more golden somehow and slanted just so in that way that purports a change of season. Next thing I knew I was itching to take down curtains and wash them, wanted to scrub the walls and so much more. And that's just the indoors things!
So I got started this week. I re-potted a few snapdragons that had volunteered to come up in other flower pots and took up some marigold and dusty miller that were absolutely done. I checked over the patio umbrella and the cushions for any mildew and wondered just when I'd need to put those in storage in the shed, eyed the plants on the porch and planned out where I'd put them all indoors. I'll need to treat them all for ants.
I read a few weeks ago that the ants are not living in the pots, as I had supposed, seeing them running up down the stems of the plants. They are 'planting' aphids on the plants which supplies the plants with something and the ants harvest some type of food from the aphids work. I'm pretty sure I read it in the August Southern Living...Anyway, it made me think of that verse in the Bible, Proverbs 6:6 "You lazy people, you should watch what the ants do and learn from them. 7 Ants have no ruler, no boss, and no leader. 8 But in the summer, ants gather all of their food and save it. So when winter comes, there is plenty to eat." (ERV). I am forever amazed at how creatures are driven by instincts and have been made to use their skills. And just as amazed at the number of people (including myself here) who will sit back and watch and wait and wonder and do nothing or little of nothing and wonder where time flew off to. That's why I keep my friend Rhonda's motto pinned prominently to my kitchen bulletin board. "When you do stuff, stuff gets done." Wise words them is. Our family motto is along those same lines. "It's better to do something and fail than to do nothing and succeed." Think about it.
I'd started to wash down the kitchen walls and cabinets earlier this past week, a job that I'd been eying and putting off for a couple of months. I'm not fond of getting all sweaty when I work and that's the truth. Haven't figured out what season I'd have to be in not to, but that's just me at this particular season of life. I didn't do the kitchen all at once. No, I took it in stages, doing one wall section a day, scrubbing the cabinet doors and frames, too. I'm officially done with the kitchen walls proper. I just can't quite reach the walls in the soffit area of the cabinets. Perhaps one of my taller children will come down soon and I can recruit them for that task. If not, I'll see if John is willing (he usually will do just about anything I ask except rake the yard. It's always, "No, thanks," to that, lol).
With the grass slowing down, we no longer need to mow as often. That is a savings for us. It means we don't have to buy gasoline, mower blades or weed killer as much. Happily, that means the money in the house fund can be used for the house once more. I plan to buy some mulch, paint and fall blooming flowers as well as spring bulbs with some of those funds. I can't buy heaps as I'd like, but I can make a dint in my want list and I mean to do so. I want to get the front porch painted and spruced up once more. Especially since I hope the construction on my back porch is to start soon. Not sure when that's going to happen. We were told when it was a little cooler, which likely means it won't be this week or next as it's just as warm as ever it has been by mid morning, sigh, but soon...I hope.
I couldn't help over the weekend but to slip a few autumn decorations into the living area. Nothing that shouted autumn, but things that seemed to herald in a beginning to a new season, like the amber glass candle bowl, and a light green set of candles on the dining table. I put out the brown transfer-ware pitcher, which looks lovely with the filler from that wreath I bought at Goodwill and remade. I just knew if I'd save those picks from that wreath I'd have a good use for them! I flipped the quilt in the bedroom after I washed it so the lovely Cathedral window side is showing once more. As I cleaned the kitchen I moved some of my things about and put out the little bread and butter plates that feature a rooster on a weather vane that I found at the dumpster. And yes, I am 'one of those', perfectly willing to take my treasure wherever I might find it!
Our weekend was really calm and collected compared to the hectic pace we kept the previous weekend. We went to synagogue which was lovely (and no Sarah you didn't miss mention of it, we didn't go weekend before last, it was John's work weekend, as is this one). We were blessed to be there and hear the Rabbi's take on the scripture. He made a point that really shook John and I hard and we've been in prayer about it. He suggested that many of us are complacent about the Holy Days that God commands us to observe (five in total). He asked how many of us celebrated Christmas or Easter. Now this can be a loaded question amongst Messianics but no stones thrown by this Rabbi as a great many hands went up. He simply said, "Think about how many hours you will put into holiday work, the hours of preparation and gift buying and planning meals and grocery shopping and making meals and how very much time you spend focused upon these holidays. These holidays are mandated by man. The feasts and Holy Days are mandated by God. Shouldn't you give God even a portion of that time to preparing and observing the days He's deemed Holy?" Well that made me sit up and take notice and John, too. It's one of those moments when you know you've hit a logic that can't be denied.
I admit that we are still fairly new to the Festivals and Feasts and the observances of them. This is an area we mean to step up our knowledge of and be better prepared and ready to observe in the future. And no, we don't have just loads of time either, for there was Yom Kippur this weekend and Sukkot next weekend. Officially this time of year is known as a time for remembrance and atonement and marks the beginning of the year in the Jewish calendar. We are to remember where we strayed or failed in the year past and the atonement is simply what we should all do: repent. Stop, renew our determination, turn back from our straying, get back on the right paths and go forward. I'd say, "Not hard..." but we all know that there are areas where we are no more than Moses and his people marching round and round and round unable to find our way off that monotonous path of repeat and repeat. So plenty of food for thought as we fasted for this Holy Day.
I found this little poem the other day in a 1949 September Woman's Home Companion. I thought it pretty much described what I feel about you sharing coffee with me each week. It's a different world than it was way back then to be sure. More women were at home and spent time together during those week days. Neighbors visited and made time to do so. Not so much anymore. But thanks to the modern computers and internet and cellphones we can share things if not actually 'borrow' anything more than ideas and thoughts. Still...It's a sweet thing and I think it says a great deal.
Count Me As One
I like a neighbor
Who comes to borrow
A cup of sugar
"To return tomorrow."
I like a neighbor
Who stops to talk
When I'm taking the baby
Out for a walk.
I like a neighbor
To visit with me
Over cinnamon toast
And a cup of tea.
A recipe shared
Has added flavor...
Count me as one
Who likes a neighbor.
by Hannah Kahn
I note in these older September magazines copious recipes for tomatoes. I'd say, "Oh aren't they quite late?" were it not for the many photos I've seen on blogs and Facebook of friends' tomato crops! I can name one Prairie Farm Wife who has had a glorious bumper crop of tomatoes this year and she's worked hard at putting them up. I guess those recipes were indeed timely. It's made me rather ashamed of my smug satisfaction in harvesting six tomatoes from my two little plants.
Well not really...Those little tomatoes were a tiny victory and I am proud of growing them. The horn worms ate the leaves up. One of those plants has put out new leaves and the other is trying. I do hope that means I shall have a few more tomatoes. I really must take time this week to plant lettuce. I shall have to set the pot on a stool so the rabbits can't reach it, since they gnawed my lovely little cabbages to nubbins. I hope to plant Garden peas and cilantro and parsley if I can find parsley seed. And I'd really like to have beets and carrots, too. I'm in the mood....for planting and freshening and redecorating and ventures and adventures! Oh my yes!
Tuesday night John and I had just news wave after news wave from the youngest two kids. We were very glad they chose to let us know in person instead of posting on Facebook. Those two have trained us to not respond to their posts overmuch and so we do just that with all the children. It's hard at times to know where these adult children consider the boundary lines to be drawn, how much is too much comment, what we should and shouldn't acknowledge. Mostly we just don't comment at all, lol. Safest that way. But I will say that if we are called directly with news then we feel we can respond as we would in any conversation. I must say our heads spun a bit Tuesday but in a good way. We were just surprised, albeit nicely.
I woke very early morning with a good case of 'ick'. I wasn't actually sick but just didn't feel at all well, as in oozy woozy sort of not well. I went back to bed but an hour later I got up and made myself a hot steamy cup of ginger root tea. John, bless him, got up too, as that is essentially his usual time to arise, but also to keep me company. I do love that dear man and I appreciated his concern but he is amazingly lucid and unabashedly cheery for the most part and honestly? When you're fighting hard to hold on to the world and it's that early and the idea of coffee sickens you horribly? Not a social time. I grunted as nicely as I could and went off back to bed to retreat altogether.
I pretty much convalesced all day Wednesday. The posts I put out were written up over the early part of the week. I cancelled my day out with Mama. I avoided food and people and activity and just settled in with my usual home remedies and waited it out. By the time I went off to bed that evening, only slightly earlier than usual, I felt better. I slept like a log all night long and was up feeling fine Thursday morning, except for a sore tummy and a slight desire to sob at the least things. Which made me pretty sure I wasn't quite as fine as I thought.
I finished off the kitchen work that day, just because the first parts looked so good I couldn't bear to look at the rest until it was done. I do love a clean, shining room. I'm not quite all done, but the biggest parts are done. As I cleaned my mind kept up an endless bit of chatter. I've redesigned my kitchen and painted everything anew and scrapped this and altered that...only in my mind! Imagination is a lovely thing to make free with at times, but I try not to overindulge as that just leads to dissatisfaction and that isn't a good thing for any home. I try to keep it nicely balanced. Truly there isn't a lot I'd like to change about my kitchen overall, except shift the stove to sit sort of catty corner to that deep unusable space along the one wall. And perhaps find myself a lovely old Hoosier cabinet (in cheery white and red) to replace the armoire I've repurposed for storage at present. I'd love to paint walls and cabinets and have new flooring but overall I'm quite happy. I remember the many useless dark holes of kitchens I've had over the years to work in and this one is still a dream if not a perfect dream.
John had a bit of time off this week. We didn't do a thing either day he was off, which doesn't suit me exactly but it was necessary. They are a bit shorthanded at work at present and so he opted to remain on call if needed. It's my opinion that though he does have a week off every other week, when it comes to his 'vacation' time he should have something special to look forward to, if nothing more than a nice little drive through the county. Well, as I said, he opted to be on call and that's all right for this once I guess. He went back to work last night.
Thursday night I settled in to look at blogs written by those who have their own flea market booths. It made me feel antsy to get out and hunt reading about other people's great scores on items and looking at their booths. John looked over and saw the blog page I was focused upon. "You need to go into town tomorrow and dust your booth. That's an old building and you want your things to look nice." "I was thinking maybe I'd go look for a few more things..." "Go! Do it! This is your enterprise."
Honestly now...Who wouldn't love a man who not only encourages you to go out and plunder the countryside but also gives you money to do it? Even though you haven't made much at present?
I had a late start yesterday morning but I finally headed out from the house. I had a plan...which quickly changed and I'm so pleased over that change. I stopped to pick up the mail and the local paper was in the box. I thought I'd just check the want ads and sure enough I saw an ad for a yard sale. Now I've mentioned before that we live in a rural county. Our area is well populated although we're somewhat isolated here where we are, mostly due to landscape surrounding us and cutting off view from neighbors, but this particular area is really rural. I was a little nervous about heading out on my own, but decided if it looked unsafe I'd keep going. As it happened two other cars turned in at the same time I did.
This was a huge sale and there must have been ten or fifteen flat bed trailers or tables filled with stuff. I plundered to my heart's content and came away with half my car trunk filled and money still in my pocket to buy more.
As I got back near Butler I saw a sign and followed it only to discover that it was a Saturday only sale. Then I decided to just wander around town a bit and found two more yard sales. One was just not worthy of even slowing down for but I happily filled a grocery bag with a few items at the second place.
The nice thing at the last place was that two women came out of the door just chatting away. They were so friendly with one another and chattered and chattered. I listened to them as they went on and thought they must be best friends the way they went talked. It wasn't gossip-y sort of chatter but just a nice talk. About the weather and the pecan crop this year and the season changing and what was for dinner and the need to just get out of the house. It was just easy, warm, comfortable talk. Like that poem I shared reminded me of.
When the one woman took her leave, I carried my things to the front of the building to pay for them. The seller smiled happily and made small talk. I said "Oh that lady that just left seemed awfully nice..." and she smiled even bigger. "That was my sister," she said. I'd never have guessed they were sisters and that's truth. They didn't speak to one another the way I've heard other sisters speak. They spoke in a way that was warm and intimate and I said so. And then I said, a little shamefaced, "I guess that doesn't say much for how I think families are..." "Oh you're right" she said. "Kate and I are close. We have two more sisters but it's not quite the same between us and them. But Katie and I get on well together and a day seldom goes by that we don't see each other or talk on the phone two or three times. I'd be awfully lonely without Katie in my life."
I finally headed back to Reynolds and thought about that conversation. I've often felt I missed a great deal in not having a sister. But then whose to say I'd have been close to my sister? How lucky that dear woman is to have a sister who is her friend! and my booth.
I found my booth in good order. I dusted, rearranged, looked things over, was certain I'd sold nothing, but the owner came around to talk to me and told me I'd sold one item. Now officially this is just 1 week in. The store's only open three days a week. While chatting the owner suggested I add more shelving (I have lots of floor space yet to fill), but I don't have another shelf unit and am reluctant to spend more money on shelving until I really start to earn. That's when that wonderful small town stuff kicked in. She pointed out a shelving unit that was sitting near my space. "That's mine...why not use it? And this table, too?" Well thank you! I'll be going in Thursday morning to take in a few more items to go on that shelving unit.
I think John was happy to see me come home, not so much because he missed me, but because I was so very excited and pleased over my morning out. He enjoys seeing me having fun. I spent all afternoon plundering among the bags and boxes and rediscovering what I'd bought. I set aside two items for myself right away. It's inexpensive vintage costume jewelry pieces, an enameled bracelet that appears to be from the 1930's or '40's and a plastic ivory beaded necklace that almost matches the bracelet though they were bought at different sales. When the lady saw the bracelet at the one yard sale she sort of 'Pfft'-ed at my inquiry and said "Oh $.50," as though she was embarrassed about that bracelet but I think it's very nice. Once upon a time I had quite a collection of vintage costume jewelry. I still have a piece or two or three but nowhere near as much as I did long ago. Perhaps I'm renewing my acquaintance with that former love?
Oh! I followed Brenda's recommendation and bought the Susan Branch book, A Fine Romance about her trip to England last year. Now honestly, to read her handwritten words (she doesn't type), it's like reading a letter, a lovely newsy letter from a friend who is taking a trip we've both dreamed of being on.
I stumbled upon a group of Civil War diaries the other night as I was doing genealogy research. I only took time to read one. This was the diary of Julia Fisher of Camden County. It was hardship for the families then, but I smiled to hear how much things cost. Some of the prices were comparable to what we're paying today. Some were far, far beyond what we're paying today. Why I smiled and laughed was that 150 years might separate that time from this but the complaints sound the same. I could have had the same commiserate conversation with her that very night about how high prices are, how hard it is to make ends meet. Mind you, we don't go hungry and there were times they did. Praise God my coffee each morning is the real thing, and not parched grits! But oh how well I understand having a finite amount of money and prices soaring well above incomes, lack of increase, making do, using up, wearing out...
Well, I should end now. It is a new week after all and there's so much to be done!