Coffee Chat - Oh March!

Well Hello!  Come on in and forgive the lack of sweets in the house.  I thought I had a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer but I didn't and I've not bothered to take time to make anything at all.  I meant to, but I've been busy all day long.  One of those terribly frustrating sorts of busy too, because aside from a clean kitchen and a grocery list...well there's not a lot to show for all that busyness!  However, there's coffee, as always.  There's things to chat over, too, so come sit a while.

March rolled in on Friday with the coldest weather we've had to date.  You hear the heater is running now.  Well we kept the little propane heater going all day long Saturday and Sunday and the electric heat would still come on regularly.  It never crept much over 38F which I realize isn't real cold as far as some more Northern folks are concerned but it was such a damp, sink into your bones sort of cold that it felt even colder here.  That's one odd thing about living in the South.  Cold is colder and heat is hotter.  We're just an '-er' sort of climate here.  It's rainier when it rains and it's drier when we're having drought.

John slept hard those two really cold days and I didn't do much but bundle up and keep my cold feet pointed toward the fire trying to keep them warm.  But oh the lovely meals that come with really cold weather.  A proper Shabat dinner on Saturday and then Chicken and Dumplings on Sunday.  Such cozy cold weather foods.  I did chuckle Sunday morning when John came in.  The world outside the window was frosty white and he stamped across the porch, the way cold makes you want to stomp, trying to keep feet and legs warm.  But when he came in he informed me that the weather man said....Well you know how I feel about weather men...But the weather man said the cold was over.  I laughed out loud.  I realize that last year by mid-March we had headed into summer weather. And I realize that until February we'd had a very very mild weather.  But I'm no fool where March is concerned.  Weathermen just cannot predict March weather and that is all there is to it.

Monday was frosty.  I lean hard upon a little adage John heard from an older patient: three frosts brings a rain...But Monday was a lovely day overall.  Beautifully sunny and the air so fresh and nice that despite the chilliness, I happily went out to work on a wreath.  I was out earlier that morning feeding the dogs and heard geese overhead.  I peeked about the edges of the roof and saw a deep long vee of them headed northward.  It was so quiet that you could hear the echo of their calls.  It's rare to have it that quiet here any more, now there are so very many neighbors.  But then Monday was just a rare sort of day all around.  Not only was it simply gorgeous outdoors but I was in the most foul of foul moods which turned even fouler as the day went on!  I was simply spoiling for a good hard cry, but instead of giving into it and letting it all out and getting over it, I held those tears in and the grudges that went with them.

And yet, I tell you I happily went outdoors...well I was happy to go outdoors, convinced the fresh air, the sunshine, the peace, would turn my thoughts into sweeter things.  And I had the prospect of creating before me too, which really should have helped.  It didn't.  But I'll show you what I managed to make all the same.  I started with this:

 I liked this wreath very well when I bought it at the thrift store, but I need to tell you that it didn't look quite the same Monday when I took it off the door.  It had dropped seed pods here and pine cones there and bits of moss yonder and fungi thither until it just looked terribly sad.  I decided to salvage the frame and work with that.  Here's what I came up with...

and I'll share I was terribly amused this afternoon to glance at my reading list here on blogger and see that Manuela did something along the same lines with a square frame and moss.  I promise you neither she nor I communicated what we were doing! 

While I worked Monday I tried to sort out my feelings but oh the tangled mess was far worst than unraveling the wire that bound the old items to the frame of the wreath!  Maddie did her best to lighten the atmosphere.  She came and sat at my feet looking up at me eagerly.  Maddie loves flowers...Did you know that?  Even from a puppy she's loved to put her nose deep into a flower and breathe in deeply.  Well she just was convinced I was keeping some sort of goodness all to myself as she gazed at these blossoms.  At one point I accidentally brushed one of the daffodils off the table.  Maddie jumped up like lightning and took off across the yard, daffodil dangling from her mouth.  Oh she wagged her tail and grinned widely the whole while.  Finally she dropped it and I went out to pick it up but that girl wanted to play.  The more she teased me with the flower the more frustrated I got with her and life itself.  I finally managed to get my flower back and set back to work but I'd lost precious minutes of time that I could sore afford to lose before dinner had to be cooked.

As I worked on the porch I listened to the happy chirrup of birds, a tiller running on some property near by, no doubt preparing soil for the planting season, a happy chatter of voices that I think may have come from the peach orchard across the field and even a chain saw that made me wonder if some poor soul was trying to cut up wood for the cold spell we were in  or getting an early start on next winter's cords of wood.

And over it all was the continual honking of geese, hundreds and hundreds of them in long vees winging their way northward.  All the components were there for a happy mood, but somehow it just wouldn't sprout in me.

I hurried inside after finishing my wreath to cook our dinner.  John got up shortly after I had it ready.  Dinner was good but foul moods seldom lead anywhere but to foul words.  We had our share Monday and though we both attempted to laugh off the mood and move on, it hung over us like a huge black cloud and wouldn't go away.  And the mood was solely mine, I can't blame John, though I agree he was tired  from a harder than usual work week and less prone to wanting to woo me out of said sorry mood.  Sleep was abysmal that night after he left.  There's nothing worse than knowing you've spoiled an afternoon of peace for someone is there?  And I still held on to those minor grudges, refusing to cry and let the built up steam loose.  I tossed and turned and boy was I glum chum when I woke the next morning.  Not foul minded any longer but blue, deep dark navy blue.

It did warm up a tad Tuesday but it was cloudy and gloomy, the perfect background for a navy blue mindset.  It was Harvest morning.  I'd broken 'the facts' to John early in the week that at the current taxation rate and the current inflation rate, well we'd have to adjust our budget more deeply than we'd thought.  We paid our tithes and bills, grateful that we can but aware too that at our current rate...well it's just not as easy as it was and savings is taking a hit, as is the grocery budget.  Don't get me wrong.  We are blessed to have room to make those adjustments and I have skills I'm not even using YET.  But it's very sobering, too to realize that we're working on year number six with the exact same wages we've had all along after just three short months of enjoying that wee raise.  It's equally as sobering to watch the balance dwindle back down to almost where you'd started and we've bought neither grocery nor gasoline. 

 Before the morning was half over it had begun to rain.  I loathe going out in the rain and yet errands had to be tended to.  Bills had to be posted, the check deposited, local errands tended to.    A niggling headache warned me that a change was afoot in the weather, but I had to fight through that and get on with it.  I decided to use a portion of my grocery money this week to buy Mexican takeout for dinner.  I've been just longing for a good Mexican meal and neither John nor Mama was interested when we'd go out.  It was good, and cost less than I'd imagined it would, no more than I'd normally spend for a take out meal for us.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I did very little else yesterday.  By evening, just before John left for work, we heard a great deep rumbling  roll  of thunder.  I hurried out to feed the dogs.  We've had some pretty heavy rains of late and I thought we might be in for such a storm again. I didn't want to get wet while feeding the dogs, since I'd been sniffling all afternoon long (sinuses I think now, but then I wasn't so sure yesterday). 

Maddie doesn't like thunderstorms. Not at all.  She lays her ears back and looks miserably at whomever is around.  When I went out on the porch there was Maddie at the very back of the dog house.  I chuckled however at the rest of my crew.  Trudy and Misu both were lying on the hay right at the very opening of the dog house, as though they were there for moral support of Maddie.  Well needless to say, Maddie wasn't coming out to eat and I soon gave up and went back indoors after Trudy and Misu had eaten their fill.  They took up their stations once more in front of the dog house, Maddie continuing to cower in the back.  That was about 6:15 or so.  By 8:15 last night there was a sudden roar of wind that just blasted the house, rattling windows and sending the most awful drafts across the floors.

I checked the weather station and was assured by the weather men that all rain was past.  What was blowing in was another cold front...So much for those silly forecasters John had heard on Sunday!  I crept off to bed last night to the tune of resounding blasts of wind hitting the north end of the house and a deepening chill creeping all over the house.  It was still pounding away when I laid my book aside last night and even when I was drifting off to sleep...  I slept like a babe!  I guess I just needed that change of weather.

The wind continued to pound us until after dinner when it suddenly stopped, just as it had suddenly started.  Yes, it's cold outdoors and the heater started coming on before the sunset this evening.  We couldn't have asked for a sunnier, brighter day though.  The blue of the sky positively hurt to look at, and with the wild pear blossoms showing off to perfection against it, I felt a good deal as though I was looking at a girl trying on her wedding dress...  It brought an involuntary gasp from me as I stood in the yard gazing at it, but I confess that chill wind did a great deal towards making me gasp as well.

I'd gone out to scatter breadcrumbs for the birds under the pecan tree.  There are several sorts that feed there: a pair of red cockaded woodpeckers, a pair of Norther Flickers, red birds, Blue jays, Mocking birds and the loveliest finches who just barely hop along the ground.  They are awfully hard to see, and they look a bit like a dried leaf tumbling along in a breeze, as they all tend to hop forward at once en masse.  They are more tame than some of the other birds, relying heavily no doubt on their excellent camouflage.

But Trudy has a nose for food...Gracious that girl was around the house and sitting in front of those bread crumbs in a heartbeat.  She wasn't the least bit interested in eating them.  She just wanted to protect them.  She's very diligent, too.  I put them out about 10am and John looked out the window at 2pm and said "Why is Trudy just sitting there under the tree?" lol.

Trudy finally gave up the guard duty and came around to the front porch about dinner time.  This morning she was shivering on the front porch and I wrapped an old housecoat of mine over her.  Of course, she dragged it out to the yard.  And when she did Maddie immediately confiscated it.  I didn't want Maddie to keep it but getting it away from her took some thinking.  Maddie's habit is to wait until I'm serving food out and to take off running through the yard and fields and chase a few birds, you know, to work up an appetite.  So she's doing her little routine and I look all over for her.  I can hear her running through the underbrush on the far side of the field and I step lively and go down the steps and sort of jog across the yard to the housecoat.  I'm about five feet from it when she comes tearing across the lawn, grinning ear to ear and headed right towards that housecoat.  I don't know how on earth I managed to grab hold of her collar but I did!  And I got that housecoat before she got it but boy was I winded.  Maybe I need a little exercise prior to Maddie's dinner, lol.

I worked on grocery lists today, and inventory lists, trying to get the inventory lists organized.  Which reminds me I've not told you what happened to my little pantry in the back closet have I?  I was working in there Sunday when  a box tilted, an empty box mind you, tilted towards the pantry shelves.  It nudged a box on top of that shelving unit and for whatever reason it was like a domino effect from there.  Every single box, bottle, jar, and can hit the floor, one shelf at the time.  All that work at organizing it and setting it up in order of expiration dates and putting like things together...All on the floor at my feet.  It was such an eye opener, even though it's never done it before.  What if my grandson had been here and been peeping into that closet?  I will be buying new shelving this week.  I've looked at several options, and currently I have it stacked on the floor, sigh.  I know what I want and it seems a good option but the size is all wrong.  I hope we're going to look at options tomorrow.  And then I have a back up plan that will likely cost almost as much but would do if I can't make the other work out.  It's called Mail Order.

So back to the grocery list, it's shorter than usual but I'm not sure how much money I'll save.  Some for certain if I clamp down on impulse buys and stick hard to the list, but will I have enough at month's end to make a big purchase at the meat market?  I just don't know.  I figure any money saved towards that purchase is better than none.  That's my theory.

Well it's been lovely sitting here chatting but I really need to wind up.  It's getting late.  I want to rest well tonight so I can fully concentrate tomorrow while we're out shopping. 


Anonymous said...

Loved the coffee chat. Sometimes a blue mood is so hard to get out of!! Cute wreath! It must be cold from Georgia to South Dakota! We are not getting moisture, but we are getting cold wind.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

LOL your description of Maddie and her antics made me smile! What a funny puppy - I'm sure you didn't think so while you were chasing her around :)

Great frugal minds think a like! I'm always remaking the wreaths I already own and yours looks nice and springy!

The weather has been crazy hasn't it? It was so cold and windy last night and yet it's sunny and suppose to be in the 60's for the rest of the week! I'm really itching to get out and start some garden projects!

Karla Neese said...

I love hearing about your days, your struggles, your victories...your life.

Isn't it funny how we women can just be so inclined to hold onto the "stuff" inside because we just get weary of letting it out? I'm so glad the Lord calmed that within you even just with a change of weather.

Love the wreath re-do! Very springy!

Anonymous said...

We know what you mean about wages. After taking a pay cut of 1/3 of yearly wages to keep the company hubs worked at open they finally gave them back 25c and hour 'raise' 4 years later!! That was only raise for years after. God saw us all through it though. :) I love the wreath idea too! I have been redoing my fall one into a spring one too. I was wondering. Here some grocery stores let you price match. If you can show them a current sales price on vegetables or foods of like things at any other grocery store they will math that price. I use it and on many things get the item for half off what the store would sell it showing them what another store is selling it for in their ad. That way I can buy the rock bottom sale price on what this store stocks that the other store has in its sale ad. If you used coupons too I imagine at times you could really save even more. Do any of your stores do this? Saves from having to go to two or more stores to find the best bargains.Our grocery stores are in a close proximity to each other driving wise but time wise shopping the one helps a lot. After redoing your pantry now twice you sure know what is in there. :) I hope no bottled items broke. Thank our God you were not hurt. I have been worried over our pantry shelfs too. I hear the Gorilla brand shelfs are the best shelving units for heavy use. I believe The Prudent Homemaker recommends them. Hers are their older style that you can turn the shelfs over and so the lip is up and holds the things even more. she says she believes the newer shelf units you can not do this with. I appreciate your honesty in your blog and know I can really understand where you are coming from as I, and I imagine many of us have been in the same situation. These days it is even more of a challenge to make ends meet and keep our relationships sailing along with worry on our minds. Thanks for sharing. l Sarah

Anonymous said...

Wonderful re-do!

I am curious- what is your food spending goal for groceries? Not sure if you do it by week or by month, but I admire your frugality and ability to budget everything (and eat well!) (I understand if you'd rather not share- financial goals can be personal).

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