TIME TO BRING THEM BACK?

Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin in the 1960s was fun.  It was a ton of work, but I don’t remember thinking of it as work. I do remember the “special” things we did each week and other stuff just once every couple of months.

The weekly fun things were the Friday night trips to the grocery store with my dad, followed by a fun dinner (usually Dairy Queen-yum!).  Between my dad and my younger sister (his favorite by the way), it was always an enjoyable experience.  My sister did everything in her little power to make him laugh.  It was most times, her physically acting out.  Walking down the aisles as a mini-Hunchback dragging one arm and then talking to dad like the old movie icons: “Hey Roy (his name was Ray), can I hab dis?” Holding a chocolate bar in her hands.  He AWAYS gave into her!  I’m pretty sure it was mostly because she could make him laugh after a hard week at work.

The semi-monthly thing I remember was the outdoor movie theater.  Dad would make up a bunch of snacks (popcorn, mini-sandwiches, and cool-aid), so we never needed to buy stuff there.  Mom made sure we had blankets and pillows because we ALWAYS fell asleep before the movie ended. It was just us, our family, enjoying several hours together.  Yes, there are other families in cars around us, but we never knew they were there once the movie started.  We were in a world all our own!

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We would load ourselves and all of our supplies into the car, and away we went.  First stop was always the long line of anticipation – the drive-thru ticket taker (which NEVER seemed to move fast enough):

movie T ticket

The next phase was for all of us to scream at dad to “pick that spot, no – pick that one over there” to make sure we had the perfect place for all of us to witness the glory of the big screen (oh silly us – the area was designed so that every spot was for ideal viewing.).  Once found, the astounding addition of the speaker was added to the car.  It had to be hung on the partially rolled up window (oh – no electric windows for us back then) in just the right spot.  Several adjustments were made to position and sound for our absolute listening pleasure.

movie T speakers

There was the allure of the mystical Snack-Shack left hanging in the back of all the innocent child minds.  All cars had to pass it on the way in (bonus for the theater to entice the kids – sneaky!), thus urging everyone to run and purchase the necessary munchies and drinks BEFORE the previews started.  Get there fast.  Get there now.  Don’t interrupt the family movie night while the movie is running!

Our parents were brilliant!  They made the most of one of the cheapest, easiest ways to entertain the whole family:

  • We had food.
  • We had drinks.
  • We had blankets and pillows to keep us snug even on the coldest evenings (we NEVER turned on the car and wasted gas just to warm us up).
  • WE WERE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!!

The last statement was the best of all.  We were together as a family, and that was the best thing:

  • No one was calling on the phone (yes youngsters – we had phones that hung on the wall or sat on a stand. Oh, and they did NOT tell us who was calling, because there was no fancy answering machine, so we had to answer the phone.) to interrupt us.
  • No one was stopping over unannounced. (Actually, our family had tons of family get-togethers which include kids playing on the farm while adults talked, played poker, and gossiped.)
  • No one or nothing could stop us from being all together, and having fun as a family should.

So, AMC Theaters (or whichever indoor theaters might happen to read this), here’s a money-maker idea for you:

  1. BRING BACK THE DRIVE-IN’S:
    1. Make everything drive-thru:
      1. Take tickets like they used to right from the cars as they pull in.
      2. Create a drive-thru Snack-Shack. Have the snacks posted just like fast-food restaurants have today. Make them long enough and large enough that the whole family can read the menu on their way to put in the order.  They (through the speaker system, also just like modern fast food) state their order, pull forward to pay, and pick up the goodies.  All from the convenience (and distancing) of their vehicle!
      3. Now here is where you should spend some money: speaker or sound system. The old drive-in sound systems were large and clumsy and sometimes had static.  With our modern technology, you should be able to come up with a much better, lighter system.  Still make it hook into each vehicle for that personal family experience.  Maybe something wireless?
      4. One last update addition: A unique bathroom system. I’m not sure how to do this, but if you can figure out an automatic system that can tell how many people in vs. how many people out.  You could still have several stalls, but the structure would know to unlock the “in” door when someone used the “out” door.  You could hang plastic sheets along the waiting hall so that people would have to stand and wait between the layers.  Perhaps an overhead sterilizing spray would go off as the “out” door would open, and people would move up to next-in-line?

I know you all think I’m on crack or something after reading this idea – well, no, I don’t do drugs.  I just read an article about the fight between AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures because movies need to go out, even when the theaters have to be closed.  I understand and sympathize with both sides of the story, so I came up with this beautiful idea for them all to get along.

Theaters make money.

            Movie-maker companies make money.

                        Safe distancing protocols would still be maintained.

                                    FAMILIES HAVE A FANTASTIC TIME ALL TOGETHER!

I say we start throwing this idea out there and get it done!  BRING BACK THE DRIVE-INS!

Movie T end

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ONCE AGAIN: SHORT, SIMPLE, AND SMELLY?

We knew that living the rural life had many benefits, but never expected things like this to happen:

  • No coffee filters.
  • No toilet papers.
  • No dish or laundry soaps.

We have found that rural is better for pandemic problems too. The only time I saw a shortage of any of the above items was during the initial hoarding. Since that first time, I have had no problems obtaining any of those items whenever we need them.

We also are major R.R.R. people.  Those of you that do not know it stands for Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  This is the one individual habit we put in place decades ago and are very proud to have it.

Reduce Reuse Recycle keep calm

My email inbox had another wonderful message from my buds at familyhandyman.com:

What to Do If You Run Out of These 5 Household Items

Harrison KralUpdated: Apr. 10, 2020

It’s a great read, but I do have a few adjustments to contribute:

  • Borax: If you don’t know what it is, it is one of the original dry soaps.  We always have a couple of boxes on hand for dozens of different reasons (including pest control in the gardens).  The contribution here is, “get it online!”  It is not carried in stock in many places.  Your best bet at the best price is to get it online.  We get ours from Amazon (not affiliated), but I am always on the hunt for better deals.

Borax(This is the big one we get every couple of years.)

  • Baking Soda: We use that and cider vinegar to clean most everything (another goodie for pest control in the gardens).  Make sure you read the whole story, INCLUDING the things you DON’T want to use with baking soda.
  • Coffee Filters: Not sure why those are running short in areas, but we also invested in a permanent coffee filter.  It is a fine-screened, plastic-framed cup that fits in most coffee makers.  If you can’t find one, or one that fits appropriately (like our larger, commercial, coffee pot), I simply took some fine-screen material and cut it to fit the inside of the filter cup.  It does the job very well.  You simply lift out the wire lining and shake it in the trash.  We shake ours over the garden plots in our front and back yards as the grounds are great for the soil and plants.  If you are in an apartment, you could shake them off into a bucket (old coffee cans work great too), then spread some on your house plant soil.

Fine-screen material (click on the pic to go get it)

  • Toilet Paper: This one is great, and I have heard/read this idea before.  The only thing none of the articles I read, explained is how to deal with the smell.  They all talk about simply throwing the used material or cloth into the trash – NO – YUCKY – SMELLY!  You must have, or get, a bucket or garbage with a lid!!!

trash w lid(click on the pick to see great review on these)

I cannot stress this enough.  Tons of places online had great little trash cans with step openers and lids – PERFECT!  You get done on the potty, step on the foot lever to open the lid, and put in your leftovers.  No muss, no fuss, and the only smells are the initial opening nasty.  Two other hints for the smell:

  1. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the trash can BEFORE you add the liner bag. Then once you have your bag in, sprinkle some more in the bottom of the line.  This helps keep down the smell a lot.
  2. If you have the funds splurge on some stick-up air fresheners. They are perfect as they can be stuck to the inside lid of the can and help the baking soda to keep those icky smells under control.
  3. CHANGE OUT YOUR LINER BAG ON REGULAR INTERVALS. The intervals depend on the number of people in your household.
  4. My last helper hint is if you choose to use cloth for toilet paper – DON’T CRINGE (you can giggle). Cloth diapers were around for centuries.  All you need to do is have a bucket of soapy water and a bucket of clean water near the toilet.  Make sure EVERYONE in the household understands how to use it!  The soapy bucket is to rinse off the cloth after usage.  Then place the cloth in the cleaner water bucket to be put in the clothes washer and washed up for another useable day.
    1. Make sure to only fill the buckets about half full of water to have ample washing ability.
    2. Make sure to change out the waters often (but don’t go nuts and change them every time someone uses the toilet) on the soapy bucket, not as much needed on the pre-soak 2nd bucket. The cloth in the 2nd bucket should be semi-clean enough to go straight to the washing machine—no need to try to wring anything out (week).

2 buckets                          old wash machine

(2 Buckets – no waiting.)                          (Good old-fashioned washing machine-LOL)

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay smart.

talk about garbage-raccoon

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MASHED POTATOES DO NOT STICK.

A dear friend reminded me of how much fun doing housework can be.  The following story is true from my past days growing up on the farm.

***********************************************************************************

Our father was way too trusting.  He believed that when he told his young daughters to do something simple like clean up the kitchen after dinner would be done without any issues.  Wrong!

Dad loved to cook but hated to clean.  This was fantastic for mom as she was just the opposite.  With parents that handled these specific chores in such a manner, what were two mischievous daughters to do?

  • Put leftover foods away.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Clean up the area.

Simple right?  Nope.  My sister and I are, even to this day, well known for never doing the simple ways.  We usually do things in a round-about way or come up with a better way a couple of years after-the-fact.  Cleaning up was perhaps where this whole issue started.

We had a very fun childhood, and our parents encouraged us every step of the way.  This was maybe not such a good idea.  Dad made dinner, which consisted of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  Our father came from a big family, so he consistently made too much for us to eat in one sitting.  When he very innocently to clean up the kitchen, I don’t think he was even close to being prepared for our idea of “clean up.”

It all started out the right way, put the extra food into containers (Mom was very proud of her Tupperware) then put it into the fridge.  Fill up the sinks with dishwater on one side and clean rinse water on the other.  Put the dirty dishes (after emptying them) into the dishwater.  One daughter washes and rinses, the other dries and puts the dishes away.  Once again, very simple, right?

The whole concept came to a screeching halt when my younger sister decided that mashed potatoes were a lot like clay or playdough (we had lots of arts and crafts stuff – mom’s idea to turn us into creative wizzes).  Yep – it molded into a ball beautifully when cupped in 7-year old hands.

ball mashed potatoes

It was only a matter of time before we were tossing it back and forth like you would with a ball in a game of catch.  Our game of catch turned into dodge ball.  I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somehow one of our throws ended up on the ceiling. – WOW – MASHED POTATOES STICK TO THE CEILING!

We got so squirrely excited and made the mistake of giggling.  Dad finally noticed our noises and called out from the living room (his after-dinner routine: Nightly news from his comfy recliner.),

“What are you two doing?”

To which we so innocently replied: “Nothing.”  We calmed down, and he did not bother to come to check on us.  Awesome!

LET THE STICKING BEGIN.

  1. Scoop up a nice hand full of mashed potatoes.
  2. Roll them around in your hands until they form a smooth tight consistency.
  3. Locate an easy-to-fling spot on the floor with a clear aim to the ceiling.
  4. Squat down a bit with your hand holding the potato ball hanging between your knees.
  5. Tighten your shoulder and flex your arm muscles to get an intense action.
  6. Then let-er-go!

OUTSTANDING!  The balls of mashed potatoes stuck on the ceiling.  The downside – not for very long.  We found that when we flung them up there, they would stick, but due to the butter used in making them, they slowly eeked loose from the ceiling and fell to the floor.  Then the next game became trying to catch them when they fall.

After about an hour of this (personally, I just think the news was over and he finally really heard us), dad decided to get up and see just what we were up to.

We were having so much fun that we never noticed just how many mashed potato balls were on the ceiling or floor, nor did we have any dishes done.  On our behalf, the food was all put away (except the game ball goo), and the kitchen was clean – for the most part.

Dad stepped through the arch and into the kitchen just in time to see us both throwing up our next ball.  He screeched out a: “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?”, making both of us jump to attention and immediately stop laughing.

He proceeded to reprimand us and give us follow-up instructions to get things back in order.  We heard none of it.  We both caught the fact that there was a stuck ball on the ceiling just above his head, slowly preparing to fall.  All we could do was stare at his face.  I am sure he thought we were finally being good little girls and listening close to follow his every command.  Nope, we were just waiting – quietly.

Then it happened.

The mashed potato ball above his head finally lost its grip and flopped right on top of his head.

ball to the head

It should be noted that our father was a stellar father.  He never raised a hand to his children (that was mom’s job, and she was delighted to be the Executioner) and that in most circumstances, he acted more like a kid than we did.  This, at first, was not one of those times.  He never saw it coming even though he did see dozens of residual oil spots on the ceiling.  It never dawned on him to look up before standing in a place.

We poor well-behaved children could not hold back any longer.  The laughter exploded from us to the point of rolling around on the floor and holding tight to our little tummies that ached with laughter muscle overload.

ball laughter

Initially, dad was furious (you could see it in his eyes) but, either it was the fact that it caught him by surprise, or seeing us rolling on the floor in explosions of laughter, he also could not hold back his funny bone anymore.  He burst out in laughter along with us.

Once we all calmed down a bit, he made sure we finished cleaning the rest of the kitchen up.  The unfortunate mashed potatoes that had brought so much joy were dispensed to the critter bucket (all foods that we did not reuse were given to the critters unless it was compostable.  The compostable foods went into the garden.) never to be flung again.  So sad.

I don’t know how he did it, but after we went to bed, he managed to get all the greasy ball marks off the ceiling before mom got home.  If he had not told her about our escapades, she would have never known.  Personally, I think he was so proud of our ingenuity, that he was just bursting to tell someone.  Mom just happened to be the first person he met.

Now that I have shared one of our most favored family memories feel free to try it with our own children.  The world is full of scary stuff – why not throw in a few mashed potatoes.

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Another Fun Year on the Farm – woohoo?

I do believe in God and Angels.  I also believe that he has a very warped sense of humor, and he is in cahoots with Mother Nature.

I like to think that Angels watch over us.  I used to think they helped to protect and guide us, now I think they are more like messengers.  Yes, they are watching us, but they do it just to report back to their boss.  We all know that the best way to get “in good with the Boss” is to make them laugh.  Pretty sure that my Angel is the Bosses Right-Hand-Man providing all the juicy info on me.

gossip gals

All I wished for this year was a boring year – no drama at all.  Nope, apparently, the powers that be decided it gets too dull for them if I’m not going through some type of issues.

It started out with my 10-year old Grandson stealing from me, then lying about it (like Grandma’s are stupid – really?!).  That was then followed up by a Bomb Cyclone – WHAT?  I had never heard of such a thing before, especially not here in Colorado.  Tornado (oh, wait – that was last year) yes, but Cyclone?

Our tools started disappearing?  We keep them specifically in a small shed that we worked very hard last year to turn into our “tool” shop.  First, I thought we had someone sneaking onto our property when we were not home or in the middle of the night.  I also questioned my own mental faculties, thinking I had used and just misplaced them.  I finally found one of my hammers sitting out in the pasture behind the chicken coop.   It was not sitting by anything that needed to be hammered, which could only mean one thing.  I questioned my Grandson, “Did you take out my tools, without asking, and not put them back?”

“OH, NOOO, GRANDMA!” Shot out of his mouth before I could even finish asking – a dead giveaway.

“Then how do we explain this hammer being found in the middle of the field behind the chickens?  You know, right where you have been playing.”

I got that I’m innocent look at first.

It soon turned into the Oh shit, I’ve been caught look.

Which then became the Quick, make up a story to get out of this look.

Yes, I have seen and know them all on him, and he just doesn’t get it.  There are only three of us in the house (unless you count the cat and she refuses to do any kind of work) and if my sister and myself did not do it, there is only one person left.  So, I put a lock on the tool shed.

  • Followed by a lock on the bigger shed.
  • Followed by a lock on the roofless greenhouse because he was sneaking in through there to get into stuff.
  • Followed by locks on all three of the barn doors.

The only thing that is not locked (yet) is the chicken coop.  It’s all stupidly sad because I use some type of tool around here almost daily and I have to unlock everything, get what I need, then lock it all back up again – EVERY SINGLE TIME NOW! Grr!!

multiple locks

Once we mostly had control of our tools again, we took on moving the mutts.  The older/bigger female – Corona – digs holes everywhere.  We only have about 3 plots where flowers once grew that are not completely torn up.  But, worse than her digging is the escape artist – Pig Dog (full name: Weiner Pig because he is one – jerk!).  He has escaped from the fully fenced and latticed front yard more times than I can count.  That’s bad enough, but each time he gets out, something dies.  Usually one of our cats or chickens.  I have tried:

  • 3 different collars
  • 2 different chains
  • Shock Collars
  • The old farmer method of tying a dead animal that he killed to his neck (worked with other farm dogs, but not this monster).

Nothing worked.  Now they have a separated pen of wood, t-posts, lattice, and wire.  He got out again.  So I moved his heavy-duty chain into that special area originally hooked up to the porch rail.  Oops – too close to the gate he slipped out of his collar (again) and was over the gate the minute I turned my back.  Now I am down to the heavy-duty chain, hooked to a separate post, and a choke collar (but hooked through both loops, so he doesn’t choke).  I hate to do it, but nothing else is working.  All the newer dog collars have plastic latches, and he snaps them apart in an instant.

bad dog 1    WHO ME?    bad dog 2

It rained last night and somewhere in the night that big-giant-panzie managed to slip out of the choke collar, open the gate big enough for both dogs to get through, and ended up back in the front yard again.  Now I am down to using the choke collar the way it is meant to be used.  When it warms up this weekend, I will try to get a dark cover on the outside of the whole pen.  My thought is that maybe if he can’t see it, he won’t try to get out after it – wish me luck…PLEASE!!

stupid chicken   Ah, life on a farm is never a dull moment.

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GOTTA LOVE FAMILY WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR!

I was feeling pretty rotten yesterday. Not sick, just in the dumps depressed (not good for a person that takes anti-depressants – eek!) Most of my life I have had to fight my anxiety. It showed up after I was molested at eleven and never completely went away.

I had a great Therapist when I tried to commit suicide in my senior year of high school. She warned me that I carry deep emotions and that I needed to write down everything that happens that affects them. She reasons that by spilling my guts on paper, I would not feel the need to keep carrying them around like such heavy dead weight (which they are). Probably the main reason I love to write so much now.

Yesterday, as I said, was a rough one at least until I opened my email. My cousin (love her so much) sent me this little tidbit:

flat screen vs ours in the 60s
I just burst out laughing. Can’t stop giggling right now. Yes, the statement is true. We had one similar to that growing up in the early 1960s, but that’s not why I was laughing so much. WHAT IS ON THAT WOMAN’S HEAD?? Ah, laughter is the best medicine!

The dress looks just like something my mom used to have, but only wore on very special occasions. It took “the support bra from hell” to wear it, and that was her main reason for the limited fashion shows. When it comes to breasts, my mother was not lacking (neither am I so I can understand her frustrations) and trying to get into all those stylin clothes back then was next to impossible without the proper under-gear.

She also had a couple of wigs. She originally had some beautiful red hair but insisted on dying it, covering it up, ironing it (yes, with an iron – for clothes…been there, done that, different story), and whatever else she could do with it. Back then, the beauty parlor was a temple. It was a woman’s safe harbor in a world filled with men and their macho-isms.
Go back and take another look at the picture – not the phrase but specifically at that hair. Now check these out:
hair poof 1 the early to mid-1960s hair poof 2
hair poof 3 the 1950s
hair poof 1940s the 1940s
hair poof 19302 the 1930s
I don’t see a frizz or curl out of place in any of these pics?

Mom had beautiful natural curly hair. We got lucky, and she passed it on to all of her daughters. Dad also had curly hair, but a tighter curl. Mom was so frustrated with trying to get a brush through our hair that she would simply cut it off every spring. I was partially grateful because it was so thick and heavy and hot. The other bit of gratitude came whenever we got near low hanging branches when riding, gooseberry bushes when picking, and chasing wild kittens in the hay. The longer and curlier the hair, the more you got all caught up in something. To this day I hate moths! Kids with tight curly hair playing under a yard light at night during summer in Wisconsin will inevitably catch moths in their hair-not by choice.

I don’t know if the moths were blinded by the light bouncing off our curls, attracted to the possibility of a great nest, or just plain dumb; but I can’t count the number of times I heard and felt the crunching of trying to get the dang things untangled and out of my hair. Even now I am cringing.

This post is all for my cousin Dawn. Thank you for the outstanding laugh, the fond memories, and getting me out of my funk – love ya cousin!
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ARE YOU A ROCKER?

I have this thing for rockers.  No, not the Rock-n-Roll type rockers (but yes, I am one).  I’m talking about rocking chairs.  I do so many things during the course of a day without realizing that I am doing them.  One biggie is movement.  I am a Yarnie (i.e., One who works with yarn crafts) and can be found working on a project almost every day.  I recently noticed that while I am working on a project, I am rocking, or my foot is rocking.

Rockin cat

The only rocker in our home that I remember as a child was an antique glider rocker.  It was so beautiful that mom would not let anyone touch it.  You could get an immediate slap just for playing too close to it.  We were farm kids, so our play area was not as important as the play itself.  Can’t tell you how many times my sister and I got a smack for getting to close to it.  Once we ran into it and that put us in separate chairs, staring at the ceiling for the whole morning.  It was excruciatingly painful just to sit!
old glider rockerI’m not sure where exactly my love for the rocker came from, I know I can’t go a day without one.  There is something so soothing about knitting or crocheting, while I am rocking.  My grandmother on my dad’s side was a baker (explains a ton about his love of cooking and my sister’s addiction).  My grandmother on my mom’s side died when I was very young.  I don’t remember what her passion may have been.  My mom insisted that I learn how to knit my very first year in 4-H.  She knew how to crochet and always wanted to learn to knit, but never did.  She was good at making sure her girls knew how to do things that she never had the opportunity to do (like playing the piano but that is whole other torture).

It may have happened because I was so young and it was something to share, just mom and I.  I think I have this thing about the way the yarn feels.  My hands are not very big, so manipulation of the yarn is one of the few things in my life that I can control (yes, I am a control freak).  I used to hold the yarn in my left hand, but when I lost half of that index finger, I thought I was going to have to give up my passion.  I taught myself how to use the other hand.  Takes a bit longer but it worked.  Since the amputation (6/2014) I have also taught myself a ton of different ways to hold the yarn.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

old dog new trick

There is a certain kind of peace that goes along with rocking.  On several occasions, I have found myself rocking to the rhythm of my yarn working.  Most times I do not even have to count or pay attention to the stitches I am working.  It becomes a type of “Zen” world for me.

My hope for you this new year is that you can find a comfortable old rocking chair somewhere, sit back in it for a bit.  Close your eyes and rock.  Try to rock to the rhythm of your breathing.  You might just save a ton on therapy by doing this simple thing?

zen stone n sand           =      cat in rocker

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CHRISTMAS HELP – OUTDONE!

The last time this year I will be sharing info from Farmers Almanac.  Could not pass up this one just a few days before Christmas because it has so much good stuff in the article.  The fact that they have collected stuff for decades is amazing!  They have everything from folklore, to recipes, to crafts, decorations and more.  If you are running out of time (and ideas), this may help.  I enjoyed every bit of the read and went into every one of the links and picked up a ton of great ideas.  Hope it will help you as much:

Christmas Day 2018

Christmas Traditions, Folklore, Recipes, and More

By The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Merry christmas 3

As far as I am concerned, you can never have too much information.  This counts double when it comes to holidays (especially Christmas and Halloween – my two favs.).  As we get older, we lose that wonder that we had when we were kids (and that’s just not right – we need all the happiness help we can get when we grow up), this may be the way to bring some of that back.  I found that when I read the articles about where things come from, it brings that wonder back to me.  The mistletoe one I posted last week really did that for me.  (A parasite? Wow!)

So, these last few blog posts have not been very long or very funny.  They have not even been about our farm or us.  I have found them fun, informational, enjoyable, and filled with the kinds of things I love to share, especially with friends and family.  I hope you enjoyed them.

Merry Christmas 4

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A FUN CHRISTMAS TIDBIT TO SHARE.

My Buds at Farmers Almanac have done it again.  I just love their bits of garden info and occasionally seasonal snip-its.  This one is about Mistletoe.  Did you know that it is actually a “parasite?”  I didn’t. I always thought it was some type of bush.

If you would like a fun and interesting read, along with something to share with others in a topic of Christmas conversation, this is it:

The Meaning and Folklore Behind Mistletoe  by Robin Sweetser 

This was such a fun read for me that I have decided to hang on to it.  I have printed it off and will be sending it out with my Christmas cards. 

Here’s hoping you have a Christmas full of fun and wonder!

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GARDENING HELP SHOULD BE FREE

I read a lot.  Most of what I read is a huge variety of “how-to” stuff.  I really enjoy learning new things, improving on the skills I already have, and helping others who hope to enjoy these things I love.  I just think that of all the great things I know how to do, gardening help should be free.

I’m not talking about spending hours or days teaching someone how to garden.  That could (and should) take a lifetime.  I am also not talking about the things you create from your gardening expertise.  You grow gourds then turn them into gourd art – you should sell your wares.  What I am talking about, is sharing what you know with others, then we can all benefit from growing our own stuff.

Not everyone has a green thumb, nor does everyone want to be one, but for those that do the information should be free.  I love sharing my gardening info with others.  I especially love sharing my mistakes.  The mistakes (for me) are my best way of learning.  I find it funny that the mistakes stick in my head forever, do it right and I will have to go back and remember what I did. (Heaven forbid I have too much junk floating around in my head all the time that distracts my remembering!)

I am connected to a ton of blogs, forums, and Q & A sites that all find sharing is caring when it comes to gardening.  It corks me off to see someone want to charge for a bit of helpful advice.  If you are building a book, that’s fine and more power to you; but if you are asked a simple question on how to solve a specific problem, just help a buddy Green-thumber out!

Gardening is not easy, but it is rewarding.  Not just in the awesome food you can produce all by yourself, but for the great feelings you get along the way:

  • Playing in the mud when you are older than ten – and getting away with it!
  • The first seed that sprouts.
  • The first flower on your plants.
  • The first fruit (veg or whatever you are growing) that shows up.
  • Running out in a storm to cover and protect your babies (you put a ton of work into them).

The first time you grow enough food to have extra to share with others, well that’s a feeling that you will never forget! 

So live, laugh, learn, and love your growing efforts; be it flowers, fruits, veggies, trees, bushes, or whatever trips your trigger.  Just don’t forget to share!

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR WATER?

A farmer or gardener perspective for decades now has been to avoid plastics as much as possible.  They do not biodegrade which, of course, is not good for the earth.  This was my main concern when it came to plastics, specifically plastic bottles.

no plastic bottles

To-go containers for us are usually cardboard, paper bags, or reusable containers.  Yes, some of the reusables are plastic, but they are the good plastic that gets recycled.  We do love our redo, reuse, repurpose things on the farm, but most of these things are items that will biodegrade.  If they don’t do that then they had better last forever.

Well, my blog buddies at The Whoot.com have found a new danger from plastic, and it has to do with drinking water purchased in plastic bottles.

Plastic Bottled Water Does Damage With Every Sip

They share some fantastic info-graphics describing how the plastics are labeled, what the label means, and what the level of danger is.  I have saved several of these graphics for our own future use, and I hope you will do the same.  They even have a mini-video explaining how/where the plastic danger is.

We found it easier years ago to just purchase the heavy-duty refillable water bottles and carry them wherever we go.  We can load ice cubes in them more easily, and even freeze part on some of them.  Nothing better when working out in a hot garden than a cold drink of water.  We also have the huge advantage of our own well.  Some people don’t care for the taste of well water, but we prefer it.  To us, some city waters taste tinny or sterile.  We have the added benefit of natural minerals in our water, nothing cooked out.

This week my plow-share is all about safe, drinkable, water.  Simple, short, and hopefully refreshing.

good water bottle

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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