Thursday, July 29
It was a busy day but honestly, I really don’t know what I accomplished. I guess it was a lot of little things that made the day fly by. We did manage to get the last two shelves hung in the kitchen and I quickly filled them with bowls and such that we use every day. When it came time to mount the new paper towel holder (I bought a wall mount one during our last trip to Lowe’s because I wanted more counter space) we ran into a snag. There was no available spot near the sink. We thought we could mount it vertically but we held it up and the paper towels just unraveled and hung down. Then it hit me. Why don’t we put a shelf in the window and hang the towel holder underneath it. Bingo! I had already decided not to put the small shelves that were above the opening and the window to the rest of the house back up (less to dust) but before I made that decision I had painted one of them brown. We cut the brown one to size and I held it in the window. In the long run, I knew I would want the shelf to be white so I went ahead and painted it – two coats on each side. We will reuse the brackets and it will be perfect. I can put all my little plants starts on it and who knows what else. And, the paper towels will be conveniently in front of the sink and off the counter.
We had a basketful of roma tomatoes so we decided to go ahead and make some seasoned tomatoes and can them. We wound up with three pint jars of Italian spice tomatoes and a pint jar of tomato juice. There are lots of orange tomatoes on the vine. Once those are ripe we’ll do another batch. We could definitely use some rain though. Maybe tonight as the weather people are predicting thunderstorms with possible hail in some areas. We’ll just take a nice dose of rain please and thank you!
Last night was not a restful night of sleep. Our guests arrived at 3 a.m. Yes, you read that right. Three o’clock in.the.morning. sigh. I just don’t understand people most of the time. If I knew I was going to be arriving at an ungodly time of the day (or night) I would stop at or book a motel with a night clerk. Never would I even consider staying at someone’s residence (especially if it’s not self check-in) if I couldn’t arrive during their check in hours or without at least making arrangements ahead of time. It’s a different world we live in and one that I’m not too keen on most times. I guess I’m just a little too old fashioned. Anyway, we survived the day and hopefully we’ll catch up on sleep tonight.
We had just started processing the tomatoes when the B&B boss called to see if I could come in this afternoon. Tentative plans of me going in were made yesterday so I intentionally didn’t get involved in any large project for that reason. I managed to get all the coats of paint on the window shelf and we were able to get the tomatoes done and even out of the canner right before time for me to leave.
With all the various things that we’ve got going on I often find myself wondering how in the world did the homesteaders of yesteryear ever get it all done. I mean, they had to do everything by hand which took a lot of time. Today we have all sorts of modern conveniences to make a project go faster and it still seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Do you ever wonder about such things? I realize we have a lot more activities available these days to get involved in but still, how did they get it all done? From building a house, prepping and working the land, setting up spaces for the animals, getting wood for winter, making and mending clothes, cooking and preserving food, sometimes traveling a day or more to get necessary provisions, and so on, there was always something to do to build and maintain a homestead. And yet, they still had time to go to church, help a neighbor or even sit and visit with a friend or neighbor. I do know that I get totally absorbed in the project at hand to the detriment of day to day things. Maybe they were better at not getting so absorbed in one thing and were able to still get done what needed to be done on a daily basis. Maybe they were more focused on their goals and less distracted. We do have a lot of distractions today. I find these days that I have to discipline myself to minimal time on social media or I would get nothing done. My guess is that the homesteader of yesteryear also had distractions of different sorts and had to discipline themselves as well in order to stay on top of things and that it’s not just a modern day problem. At least that’s what I’ll tell myself so that I don’t feel too bad, ha!
At 8:30 we locked up the chickens for the night, prepped the coffee and closed the greenhouse windows (in case of rain). We’re calling it an early night tonight.
Friday, July 30
Last night was another night of interrupted sleep. We had one mighty thunderstorm roll through around 2:30 or so. It rained so hard that the water coming off the porch roof looked as though I was standing behind a waterfall as I glanced out the window. One particular lightning bolt was so bright the security light went off leaving it pitch black until it finally came back on. The rain went on for quite a while. I have no idea when it finally slowed down and stopped but when it did I was able to go back to sleep and slept until almost 7 o’clock.
This morning we put the final screws in the window shelf and added the paper towel holder underneath it. It’s the perfect spot. After that I spent some time putting things on the shelves. I’d say the kitchen is about 99% back together. whew. I’ll snap some photos soon but the counters are, once again, full of garden goodies. After our guest arrived this evening we grabbed our buckets and walked the garden. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and yellow wax beans filled our buckets. While waiting for our guest to arrive CountryBoy shucked the corn he picked yesterday.
It looks like tomorrow will be spent in the kitchen. again. Plant a garden they said. Grow your own food they said. It’ll be fun they said. What they didn’t say was how much work it would be, ha! Gardening is not easy. It may be enjoyable and rewarding but the amount of work involved from start to finish is a lot of work. If you don’t have a garden and are fortunate to have a farmers market nearby I’d encourage you to support your farmers. You’ll get fresher and oftentimes organic veggies that are locally grown with lots of TLC. We used to participate in our local farmers market but haven’t done so the last several years. There just aren’t enough hours in a summer day for us to do so and with the cabin staying booked fairly regularly there’s just no way. We garden so that we can eat fresh veggies during the summer and our own canned goods during the winter. However, we may scale the garden down a bit next year. We say that now but usually after the long winter months we’re chomping at the bit and planning the garden. Before you know it the garden is bigger than ever. We’ll see how it unfolds next year!
I went with CountryBoy to do the trash run at the B&B then we stopped at Save-a-Lot for a few things. Those few things wound up being thirty three dollars and some change worth of things. It’s been over a month since we’ve done a bona-fide grocery shopping run and as we walked the aisles we were reminded of things we were out of so they wound up in the cart. One day we’ll get to the store. From the looks of us neither one of us is starving, wink.
Speaking of food, I’ve done a little research on homemade dog food. I think I’m about ready to give it a go. My main concern are the vitamins and supplements needed in a dog’s diet. I have a few ideas about how to incorporate those as well so we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping there’s enough time to tackle that tomorrow.
Saturday, July 31
As planned the majority of the day was spent in the kitchen. Four quarts of corn prepared and canned, two batches of banana breads (ten mini loaves total), and LizzieBelle’s food was all done today. We ran out of steam and didn’t get to the cucumbers. We heated up some leftover baked spaghetti and some garlic bread for supper.
LizzieBelle was thrilled with her supper…
She gobbled up every bit of it. Here’s what’s in it: roasted chicken, brown rice, and carrots sauteed in olive oil (the oil is for omega 3’s and good for her heart). For calcium I pulverized a small handful of egg shells into a powder and sprinkled it over all and stirred to combine. In researching holistic veterinary treatments with Young Living products specifically I discovered that their Sulfurzyme supplement would be highly beneficial to add. It’s a source of MSM which is a natural anti-inflammatory and vital nutrient for body function. It is said to be incredibly helpful in cases of arthritis, all forms of skin conditions, autoimmune diseases, healing of wounds, reduction of scar tissue, and just general cell structure and function. I open one capsule in the morning and sprinkle it over her food. One dose a day is sufficient for her weight. I plan on switching up the menu every few days so that she’ll get a variety of flavors and nutrients.
She even gobbles up her meds (which are just placed on top) and leaves no trace of any food bits whatsoever. This makes my heart so happy! I will be monitoring her closely for any changes both good and bad and will adjust accordingly. Even the least bit of improvement in her overall well-being will be a victory.
We spent the evening watching a movie. I couldn’t even tell you what the name of it was but it was enjoyable and allowed us to rest our weary bones from all of today’s work in the kitchen on this last day of July.
Sunday, August 1
You will not believe me when I say that we enjoyed our coffee on the porch this morning and it was quite cool. Yep! Not a bad way to start what is usually the hottest month of the year. In fact, this whole week is supposed to be quite pleasant with the high’s in the low to mid eighties. Yay!
The hours before church flew by. The fact that we slept in till after seven probably didn’t help but we spent a little extra time on the porch enjoying our coffee and being swarmed by hummingbirds. CountryBoy says they get his insides jumping from so much commotion. That kind of commotion I can handle. After that I walked around and took a couple photos.
We washed and packaged some eggs then it was time for me to hop in the shower while CountryBoy made breakfast. We relaxed for a few minutes before heading off to church. After that I grabbed eight dozen eggs, a snack, my water bottle and headed to work. It was a short day today. I was able to get the remaining sheets washed, dried, ironed, folded and put on the shelves in four hours AND it was quite tolerable today. No shower needed afterwards!
While I was at work CountryBoy stripped the cabin and washed the sheets and one comforter. We don’t have anyone checking in tonight so we’ll finish the cabin tomorrow for tomorrow’s guests. We did get an inquiry from someone that wanted to stay tonight but we didn’t see the message until almost 8 o’clock. We do have a note on our cabin listing that states that we can not always accommodate last minute bookings due to the fact that we only get messages when we sit behind the computer to check the email. By the time I opened the email the request had been withdrawn. That’s OK. I think we’re both still trying to catch up from the 3 o’clock in the morning check-in and then the thunderstorms the following night. These non-spring-chickens need their sleep!
Speaking of sleep – goodnight all.
Monday, August 2
It was another beautiful day. The morning air was a little too cool so we had our coffee indoors. We did spend some time on the porch this afternoon while waiting for our guests to arrive and for supper to cook.
Right after coffee we headed up to the cabin and got it ready for today’s guests. After that we each spent the day doing whatever needed done. Laundry was on my list. I washed three loads and hung two on the line. I threw the towels in the dryer because I’m not a real big fan of line dried towels. Too crispy for me.
Every time I headed out the door with the laundry basket a head of cabbage stared at me. I was given a large head of cabbage over the weekend and it was time to get it off my counter so I spent part of the morning prepping and making sauerkraut. Four quart jars are fermenting in a dark spot in the pantry for the next 7 – 14 days. Once the cabbage looks like kraut (is white instead of green) I will process the jars in a water bath for 20 minutes. This is a new way of making kraut for me and I sure hope it works. One of my favorite meals is a pork chop and sauerkraut with a heaping pile of mashed potatoes. MMMmmm!
I started and finished a dish scrubby, vacuumed downstairs, scrubbed the kitchen sink, gathered the eggs, gave Mabel some hay (it’s supposed to be nice and cool tonight), and cooked half of supper with CountryBoy finishing it up. Supper was Shepherd’s Pie which used the jar of corn that didn’t seal and some leftover mashed potatoes. Added to that was some ground beef then all was topped with lots of cheddar cheese and baked till the cheese was nice and melted – so good!
CountryBoy dragged a fallen, dead pine out of the woods, cut it up and took the pieces up to the cabin for fire wood. After that he hopped on the mower for the next couple hours. Overall it was a productive day.
Once my kraut mess was cleaned up I felt the kitchen was ready for its debut. So, without further ado, here’s the kitchen refresh we’ve been working on over the last month or so which all started with the painting of this wall…
The photo’s a little dark but you get the idea.
I really like the rustic feel with the recesses of the faux wood showing through. Here’s a before to jog your memory…
There were too many different wood tones that finally got on my last nerve. However, once that wall was painted you’ll recall me saying that the kitchen walls now looked yellow and dingy because well, they were yellow and dingy. I had originally white washed the kitchen walls so with the addition of time and years of wood smoke they really needed freshened up.
I painted the joists a warm, rich brown and the walls a nice, crisp white.
We originally had one shelf on each side of the window but I wanted to add a shelf above each for more storage. The four shelves on the wall are salvaged barn wood boards from dilapidated buildings we took down shortly after moving in. I sanded, stained, and polyurethaned them before putting them back up.
The shelf in the window was my solution for the paper towel holder dilemma. I used one of the shelves we had over the opening and door into the kitchen since I didn’t want to put them back up and painted it white. The paper towel placement is working great and I have a nice, out of the way spot for all of my little plant starts.
And here’s our awesome little work horse that has already been put through the paces with all the canning we have already done…
It is serving us well and we love it. We bought a ready-made shelf with brackets to hang above the stove. To the right of the stove another shelf and counter will be added when CountryBoy gets around to it. He got burned out on the kitchen refresh mainly from that ledge you see in the above photo. It was a solid platform that he had to cut out so that the new stove could sit on the floor and wouldn’t be too high. He wound up having to tear all but the portion to the left of the stove then he rebuilt the side to the right. It was a royal pain. See the white trim piece to the left of the stove? That piece he custom made and cut to cover the gas line. Even though nothing in this house is square and everything has to be custom cut it all came together in the end. I’m very pleased to have a functioning kitchen once again. Just in time too!
Tuesday, August 3
Any guesses as to what’s on today’s agenda?
It took me almost eight hours but the days’ work resulted in eight pints of Italian Spice tomatoes, seven pints of plain stewed tomatoes, and six pints of tomato juice. We really like the seasoned tomatoes. They’re easy to add to chilis, stews, spaghetti, and so much more. If the tomato plants continue to do well I’d say this is just scratching the surface of the tomato canning that’s ahead. We need to pick up a few more spices (if we ever get to the grocery store and I don’t mean Save-a-Lot) then I’ll do a batch of Mexican spice tomatoes. We also need to pick up some more regular mouth bands. I robbed the pantry so that I’d have enough bands to get these done. We’re also getting low on pint jars. Good problems to have!
Today has been unbelievably cool for August. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to spend it outdoors but at the same time I’m thankful for the coolness during a long day of canning. I only noticed the kitchen getting a little warm one time. The rest of the time it was quite comfortable even without air conditioning.
CountryBoy did a trash run today for the B&B then he weed-eated around the garden trough/raised bed. After that he took a nap. He’s feeling a little under the weather but after some rest he’s feeling better. He’s making a salad for supper. Then it might be an early night for us all.
As predicted CountryBoy went to bed shortly after supper. I made myself a cuppa tea, grabbed my devotional and Bible and sat on the front porch to enjoy the beautiful weather and to refresh my soul. There’s so much hatred and anger and division these days that a few minutes of scrolling on Facebook usually has me more in a tither rather than enjoying my friends posts and photos. I usually sign off before I get all worked up. Then there are times I scroll a bit longer than I should and WHAM I’m upset, disappointed, or sometimes even depressed from what’s being said and by what’s going on around me. This afternoon was no exception. I stayed on Facebook a bit too long then all of a sudden I was met with the challenge of needing some encouragement and something positive. The keyword for this month’s devotion is kindness. We sure could use a lot more of that these days. My prayer tonight was to be more genuinely kind. Then I felt drawn to the book of Ruth. The book is a story of God’s grace in the midst of difficult circumstances. The story occurred during a period of disobedience, idolatry, and violence. Apropo, don’t ya think?! The themes throughout the book are faithfulness, kindness, integrity, protection, and prosperity/blessing. I’m looking forward to delving into this book and pray my life will be changed.