07 February 2021

Gathering the Fragments 7/02/2021

Not so many fragments gathered this week, but still plenty accomplished.

I'm praying for sunshine and some hot days to ripen the tomatoes and encourage the egg plant and capsicum to grow. We're getting plenty of rain, but the days are cool and cloudy, with the odd moderately warm day thrown in each week. My garden needs sunshine and heat!

February is a no spend month for Cheapskates Club, and so for me. It' s not exactly fair to expect Cheapskaters to no spend if I don't.  Not spending was easy this week, only a few salad veggies, milk and wraps were bought.

Hannah and I did do a mini op-shop crawl, but I didn't see anything I needed or wanted badly enough to break no spending month rules. Hannah picked up a Soda Stream for $5 and two genuine Moccona jars for $4 so she was happy.

We ate from the fridge and freezer this week, with leftovers being used up for lunches every couple of days. It keeps the fridge clean, and there's no waste. Any peelings have been going to the compost bin, and when we start eating more red meat I'll get the Bokashi bucket going again to be able to compost everything.

I've worked a little on the crocheted baby blanket, it is slowly growing.

Some cards have been made for the nursing home.

There was a small pile of mending that needed doing so on Thursday when my fingers weren't quite so clumsy I sewed on some buttons and hemmed a couple of pairs of shorts for Wayne.

Tuesday night was the first live show for the year, and it was lovely to be back and chatting with old friends. The break was much needed and thoroughly enjoyed, but I'm looking forward to the shows this year too.

What fragments were you able to gather this week?

31 January 2021

Cathering the Fragments 31/1/2021

Well this couldn't be a better named post - I have spent this morning doing just that - gathering the fragments, or what I could retrieve - from my laptop that I dropped yesterday afternoon. 

Drat these unreliable fingers!

I had a whole list of things to share; I'd been adding to the post all week in an effort to stay up-to-date with posting. It's all on the now-not-working laptop. I'm hoping a phone call in the morning will cheer me up and it can be repaired.  Seriously, three in 10 months is beyond ridiculous!

Anyway, here's what I remember of what happened last week:

lots of zucchini picked, grated, dried

two dish scrubbies crocheted from some scrubby yarn I found in the cupboard

finished off the dishcloth with enough yarn to make a scrubby. That's one whole ball of cotton yarn put to use from the craft pantry (thank you to Rosanne for that name, it sounds so much nicer than "the stash").

one blue dishcloth knitted using up some Bendigo cotton I had.

All our meals except for Friday night were cooked at home, using ingredients on hand. Friday was our 32nd wedding anniversary (and it was a dreadful day - keep reading!) so I ordered pizza for dinner. And it was delicious, with leftovers for Saturday's lunch.

Friday was a very wet day here. It poured rain almost non-stop for most of the day. I was sitting having a cuppa about 10am and I could hear a noise. Looked both sides of where I was sitting, nothing. Couldn't see anything in front. Turned around and we had an indoor water feature on the loungeroom wall. Water was pouring from under the cornice, down the wall onto the carpet. Yikes! 

This wasn't a little drip - it was a sheet of water running down the wall. OK - first thing - call a plumber. Wayne was on the other side of the city, plumber was closer. 

Second thing - take the photos off the wall, and move the furniture. 

Third thing - drag out towels - lots and lots of towels - to mop up the water. 

By this time the plumber was here and he climbed up on his ladder and fixed the problem immediately. Looks like the electrician didn't put three tiles ; back properly in December when he ran the lines from the kitchen.

So, while the plumber was still here, I called the electrician, explained what happened and he was just around the corner so arrived in under 10 minutes. 

In the meantime, the plumber had mentioned how fortunate that the water hadn't got into the meter box, and as he said this he opened said meter box door and everything fell out! He jumped back, yelled at me to move away - there were wires and meters and mushy chipboard just hanging there. 

Oh my goodness. I thought I was going to lose the plot. I raced inside to turn off as many appliances as I could; I couldn't believe we still had power in the house.

Plumber and electrician were wonderful, managed to get everything safe. Sometime this week the power will need to be turned off at the pole and the meter box completely rewired with a new meter and switches. When this happens will depend on the electricity provider. 

All I can say is I am so grateful the electrician acknowledged his tradesman made a mistake and is willing to fix it. And that even though there was a lot of water inside, the timber panelling that I don't really like was a blessing because it is oiled and the water just ran down it, it didn't soak in or there would be a bigger job to do. Oh and that the raked ceiling stopped water from pooling in the roof and then collapsing. 

The saying it never rains but it pours sure was apt on Friday.

If I can get the photos I took off my phone I'll add them later - just don't hold your breath, I'm a little nervous about doing anything right now.

24 January 2021

Gathering the Fragments 24/01/2021

A beautiful week. That's how I want to remember last week.

The world is still upside down in turmoil, but our home has been happy and busy; we are all just going about our days just doing what needs doing. We are blessed to be able to do that.

This month we have five family birthdays! Good thing the card and present boxes are kept full.

The nursing home has asked for more cards. I have some done, and will work on more during the week and send a small parcel off. We're hoping to be able to visit in March, so I'll be able to take more then.

I saw on the news on Friday night a farmer feeding his apricot crop to sheep because he couldn't get pickers. I was almost in tears - I would have gladly gone and picked enough for us and paid him for them; I wish local councils and state governments would allow this so at least the fruit isn't wasted (not that feeding the sheep is a waste, but I get really upset when it is dumped in landfill or ploughed back into the ground). I love apricots and they have such a short season and are so expensive, even tinned, that I rarely buy them.

Most of our fruit trees are dwarf varieties in pots,  and they need to be well watered in the heat. Wayne set up a drip watering line for them (and me) so I don't need to worry or remember to run out and make sure they're not too dry. He put it through the whole veggie garden, all the beds, as well as all the pots. It has made a huge difference in time for me, and I know they are getting the right amount of water to stay healthy. At this time of year I feed the garden and pots weekly with either worm tea, compost tea or Seasol and they thrive. It will be interesting to see what, if any, difference it makes to the water bill.

The zucchini are producing prolifically. I've picked a handful every day this week, grated them and put them into the dehydrator. Right now it's all in a jar, when it's full I'll vacuum seal it. Then the grated zucchini will be ready to use in winter.

The tomatoes are slow to ripen, but I'm ready to make pasta sauce and bottle as many as I can. There will be more than enough for us to eat and preserve a good supply for later in the year.

The next flush of apples is almost ready on our tree, I'm watching carefully and taking note of where the flocks of birds are so I can beat them to the apples.

A friend gave me a huge bag of rhubarb, so it was all stewed. I had an epiphany when my hand was sore from chopping - try the slicer on the food processor - the whole lot was done in under a minute! Wish I'd thought of it years ago.

Downtime this week I sorted my box of yarn. I won't need to by cotton or wool for a while. Some things may be striped or odd colours, but I'm determined to use it all up before buying anything new.

Over the last two weeks my hands have been busy in downtime trimming face washers, crocheting scrunchies in school colours, trimming a hanging  kitchen towel and a tea towel and knitting some dish cloths, all made using what I had.





My chore for today is to cover the garden with shade, I use old op shop sheets, make up big salads and boil lots of eggs.  make up a bottle of iced coffee syrup and a couple of cordial and fill the ice cube trays; the heat is forecast to hit tomorrow and last until Tuesday. 40C in the city is about 45C here so cold food only.

03 January 2021

Keeping Fingers Busy

Keeping my fingers busy keeps me sane. Truly it does. Just sitting is horrible to me. The only time I just sit is when I am reading; any other time I may have a movie on or be talking to someone but my fingers are working on something.

Right now I'm busy crocheting. Since the 28th December I've been working on tea towels and hanging tea towels because they're portable projects. Of course I took my crochet away with me, lots of time in the car to work a tea towel or two and of course plenty of time around the camp fire to create.

Our camper needed some new tea towels, pot holders and hanging hand towels, so that's what I've been working on.
The tea towels I used were from my stash, bought on sale a while ago. The cotton I used to crochet the tops was a bargain, again from the stash, and bought from Arthur Dayley's, a discount store here in Melbourne, for $2.48 a ball. The middle of the pot holders is old bathmats (properly washed and dried in the sun - the best laundry sanitiser ever) that we no longer use.

It's relaxing to sit and crochet (or knit or cross-stitch or make cards or whatever) and listen to a pod cast or just put some music on in the background, or perhaps even a movie, but so many women, especially full-time homemakers, feel that they are slacking off when they do this.

They're not, you're not, I'm not. Keeping fingers busy is relaxing, but while I'm crocheting a tea towel or embroidering a set of hankies or knitting a rug or making cards I am also working on making something useful and pretty for our home, something that would otherwise have been bought, often at a much higher cost than what I can make it for.
This is a part of my homemaking duties. Don't go getting all uppity when I say that, it's just a term, we share the homemaking duties and responsibilities in our house; what you do in yours in up to you.

Summer is the perfect time to do these things. It's hot. It's sticky. And working outdoors is unpleasant. So work indoors. Keep your fingers busy adding to your present box or creating things you can sell (Wendy at My Abundant Life has a Facebook group for selling handmade crafts, Cottage Crafts for Sale  and I will be adding some of my items to the group very soon) to boost the family coffers, or make your home more comfortable. Just don't feel guilty when you sit to keep your fingers busy.

What I'm saying is don't think that you are wasting time when you sew a dress for your little girl or crochet trim on face washers for the bathroom (makes them last years longer) or whip up a pot holder from an old pillowcase. 
 
You're not. 
 
You are adding comfort and value to your home; you are working as a homemaker. You are not slacking off and if anyone dares to say so, gently and calmly point out what you are doing to improve your home and help your budget, that you are not being slack or lazy, but are working - gently and calmly, for the benefit of your family and home.

01 January 2021

Welcome 2021!


Welcome 2021.

If ever a year was wanted and welcomed, it is 2021. 

2020 is done and dusted. Packed away. Relegated to the history books. And there it can stay. It is a year I never want to repeat - thank goodness we can't go back in time.

So 2021 is here.  I plan on changing 2021 to be a great year for my family and our household.

A new year always makes me smile; it's a happy thing to look forward to. We can't change the past, but we can change our future; and this year that's exactly what I'm going to do - look forward and change our future.

I'm going to look forward to building the stockpile.

I'm going to look forward to learning more canning techniques so we can have more shelf stable food in the pantry.

I'm going to look forward to the Autumn, Winter and Spring gardens, planning what seeds to start and when to start them. 

I'm going to look forward to more crafting and creating.

I'm going to look forward to each day, whatever it may bring, knowing that I have the skills or can learn the skills to get through.

I'm going to look forward to keeping our home happy and calm, and my family cared for. 

I'm going to look forward to a new year, with new opportunities every day, to take advantage of those opportunities and waste nothing. 

Happy New Year everyone, may 2021 be blessed for us all.