Wednesday, August 7, 2013

And Now for the Rest of the Story.....

So whatever happened to…..

I know you’ve been wondering and waiting for updates on many of my adventures (just play along with me anyhow), so this post is dedicated to bringing you up to speed.

First off, the Buy Local experiment –
I’m happy to report that we are still buying primarily local, despite the end of our three month challenge to buy exclusively from locally owned businesses. One of the great side effects of our experiment was saving money. We were so laser-focused on only buying what we needed due to the limits of our shopping options that we spent significantly less money. Now that the flood gates are open and we’ve made occasional necessary trips to Wal-Mart and Home Depot, our expenses are right back up there.

I found myself in Wal-Mart recently to allow my youngest offspring to spend the gift card he received at his birthday party. While he agonized over which Lego set to buy (this can take hours and is very much a big part of the joy of Legos), I wandered the aisles. What a mistake! Looking back I wish I had just endured the running commentary on the pros and cons of Bionicles versus Star Wars, instead of setting off for the back of the store to buy quart-size zip lock bags to freeze all the fresh fruit we’d been harvesting.

I hadn’t gone more than a few steps, when I was lured into the card department and wasted at least five minutes considering cards before smacking my figurative hand and remembering I could make a much nicer card myself for my Mother-in-law’s upcoming 75th birthday celebration. I forced myself to look away as I passed the school supply aisles, reminding myself that there were plenty of pens in our house I just had to locate them. Walking past the cat food aisle, I remembered that we (and by “we” I mean “me”) needed to change the cat box and picked up a bag of cat litter. I found the freezer bags and set off for the front of the store, but was drawn in by the baking section rationalizing that I could buy organic sugar for the lemonade I’d promised the kids I would make. While picking up the sugar, I noticed that W-Mart carries King Arthur flour and grabbed two bags of their excellent bread flour. In the refrigerator section I studied the hot dog packages for much too long, horrified to discover that every brand they carried included added corn syrup. Hurrying to meet my son at the register, I picked up a couple bags of organic baby carrots, a package of batteries, and gum for our upcoming plane ride. I “needed” nothing at Wal-Mart, yet I pushed a loaded cart to my car.

I feel better for confessing and resolve to do better. I do still believe in shopping locally. It’s good for my community and my family’s budget, but mostly it’s better for my conscious.

This challenge was mostly a great success. I took five boxes of clothes and shoes to Goodwill! My closet is lighter and my drawers now close. Plus I’m much more discerning about what I buy. There is still a small section of clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn, but can’t part with that still needs to be boxed up. Every time I approach the task, I mentally list all my excuses for why I haven’t worn these garments – they’re too “dressy”, it’s been too hot, etc. But I am still dedicated to clearing the unworn clothes. I plan on another month-long challenge in the fall after I dig out all my winter clothes.

I bet you’ve been wondering about my Cold Frame. What happens when it’s no longer cold? Well, my handy hubby rigged up a perfect solution by attaching a shade screen to the lid creating the perfect environment for growing lettuce in the heat.

And the hen that was so determined to hatch eggs? This one was a complete disaster. Not long after I wrote the post about her quest, I entered the barn to discover her off her perch in search of food. When I quietly checked on her nest, I discovered that there were no longer eggs nestled in the hay bale. Somehow, perhaps when she shifted to find a more comfortable position (I know I can’t sit in the same position for longer than five minutes, so how she’d done it for two weeks still astounds me), she had inadvertently kicked her precious eggs off the bale and they were wedged between the wall and the hay bales on the ground – cold and dead, and eventually stinky. I have to wonder how many weeks she would have sat on nothing waiting for it to hatch and once again remind everyone that chickens are most definitely some of the dumbest creatures God created. That very same hen began sitting on a new batch of eggs this week. (Due date August 26) This time, handy hubby built her a box to stay in and I filled it with hay, her own supply of food and water, and closed the lid. Look for a birth announcement/disaster (she's already crushed one egg) by the end of the month!

I’m sure you’re wondering how the tomato blight battle is going. Well, the war rages on. I spray with copper spray each weekend and snip off all the blighted branches. The plants don’t look so great – kind of like fat ladies with very skinny legs – but they are producing tomatoes. I canned 13 jars of salsa this week.  The salsa tastes like I added sugar, but it’s just our naturally sweet heirloom tomatoes, their sugars strengthened by the hot spell a few weeks back. I know I am destined to lose this battle eventually, so I’ve prioritized the tomato processing according to what will cost me the most to buy – salsa, pizza sauce, diced tomatoes, sauce. Once I have enough salsa put up, I’ll start on the pizza sauce, and so on. Wish me luck! (Thanks Allison for spraying while we were away – I owe you a few jars!)

And my quest to be a famous writer? Well, the facebook page now has 118 likes! (Spread the word, I need all the likes I can get!) I had another article published in Hobby Farm Home magazine (a very helpful and informative magazine for anyone who strives for self-sufficiency and enjoy DIY projects). My memoir excerpt made the top 20 for the Southwest Writer’s Contest and the winners will be announced this month! Fingers crossed. It’ll be a long slog, but I appreciate your time dear reader and promise to mention you in the acknowledgements of my first best-seller!

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