Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inside Today!

Ah yes, you will find me inside today, bundled up and maybe sipping hot chocolate. According to the weather site it is -17 and that is not with the wind chill. Yes, I know it is Winter and it is Iowa but I am still whining. Must be residual Florida type thing, growing up getting dressed was a case of throwing on shorts, shirt and flip flops. Now it is panty hose, long johns and fleece pants and top, wool socks and real shoes. Looking out my window is a beautiful sunrise, the dogs are happily chewing on bones, the cats are enjoying the heated bed and all is right with the world. The pluses definitely out weigh the minuses.

It has snowed on and off for the last two days, not sure how much. Not mega amounts like many parts of the country. Watching the news gives me more reasons to count my blessings, huge car pileups on expressways, flooding, power outages and of course war. Trying to imagine huddling in a corner of the house, being afraid of being bombed or shot. Something along the lines of hiding from a tornado, but worse. We are so very lucky, sometimes we forget or take what we have for granted. So many people do without the basics and we have an excess of everything.

Talking to my friend Ellen last night about ordering plants and when to start the seeds inside.
She is a florist and has a greenhouse so she has to get her ordering done early. I want some cherry trees, pear trees and more apple trees. We are also going to get some peach trees, yeah peach trees in Iowa!! I was amazed when she told me she had them, but tasting the friut soon covinced me. They were so sweet, I was in heaven, the fruit is small but is still most definelty a peach. I would also like to add some birch trees to the landscape. We were going over types of vegetables, talking about all this is exciting. A reaffirmation that Spring will be here, that there will be a cornucopia of good things to eat. I will work more on my canning skills so the harvest can be enjoyed all year. Also hopeful that this year my plans for a pumpkin patch will come to be. These things will be fun but am also hoping to bring in some more pennies to aid the home front.

I had mentioned before about my attempts to be economical and it came to mind when I was filling the bird feeders. I, like most of us, buy the big bags of bird seed and trying to put it into smaller, more managible containers can be a challange. I have cats who let me live in the house with them, so need kitty litter. I buy the litter that comes in the buckets or plastic jugs. These containers are put to use for a variety of jobs. They are used to take the hot water out to the goats, outdoor cats and bird baths. I put my different types of birdseed in the jugs making it easy to fill the feeders with a minimum of spillage. Transfering the seed from the large bags to the jugs proved to be somewhat messy. I tried using a funnel but it kept getting clogged, and then the light bulb went off. I cut the bottom off a milk jug and ta da perfect funnel, soon the jugs were filled and nary a seed spilled. Throw the "funnel" into the recycling and all is good. I have also used the milk jug as a clothes pin holder, cut a hole in the jug opposite the handle, then slice at the bottom of the handle. Then just put the jug over the clothes line and it will slide right along with you as you hang your clothes. In the warmer weather I try to hang as much out as possible. I do put the towles in the dryer just to fluff, but the majority of the drying is on the line. I also found that using less soap in the washer helps with the stiff factor of the clothes. When you think about it, most of what we wash is not all that "dirty", it is more in the line of needing to be refreshed.

Today I am hoping to get several batches of pet treats done, one calls for fresh parsley which I grow on the window sill. This particular parsley plant is nearly two years old, I just keep snipping off what I need and it keeps growing. While looking for different ideas for home made solar ideas I found plans for a year round greenhouse. It is a bit labor intensive, but I believe doable. The man dug a pit about 9 feet deep, 15 feet long and 6 feet wide, lined it with panels of insulation then started filling it back layering dirt and PVC pipes. The greenhouse is then built on a cement floor, covered with plastic and has panels that fold out during the day. The unit faces south so is collecting what ever sun there is. He built his against the south facing wall of his work shop. There are thermostats and fans to bring the warm air from the pipes, then when the air in the green house reaches a certain temperature another fan blows heat into the workshop. My plan is to build this off the side of the animal shed with the hopes that the temperature for the girls will be raised. Mr. Orr stated that the temperature in the greenhouse never went below 58 degrees and they had vegetables all year round. The clincher was finding out that Mr. Orr and his family lived in Wyoming. I found all this and more in Mother Earth News, I get their newsletter in my email with so many wonderful tips.


Joanne said...

"I have cats who let me live in the house with them." Me, too. Now if only they knew how to cook! And with laundry, I think we just automatically just toss everything in the load. But we've found the beauty of an iron here. So often a good "steam" ironing cleans and refreshes. It saves the fabric too, not washing so often, so the clothes last longer! Stay warm!!

Karen said...

The greenhouse sounds like quite an endeavor, but how nice to be able to grow things year round. I had a greenhouse window over my kitchen sink at the "old house" and miss it very much. I'm not big on plants, but like to have a few African violets around just for color. It would be fun to grow herbs, too.

I agree about the laundry, I often feel as though I'm washing clean clothes.

I had no idea that my blog was one of the first you were introduced to. How nice! I'm so glad we've come to know one another through this wonderful hobby!

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Barbara,

A good way to combat the winter blues is to think and plan about spring and summer things, so you have the right idea.

We're to get the bitter cold here starting Wednesday night. Thursday and Friday will be frigid but we have no snow and we'll warm up again by Saturday. Well, to 40 F and that will feel like a heat wave after the single digit lows they're forecasting! And you are right, we, for the most part are very lucky if all we have to worry about it the weather, when so many people have it far worse in other parts of the world!

That said, do stay warm and snug, and keep planning and dreaming about spring!

Hugs and blessings,


Nancy Jo said...

Hi Barb,
Just love your house, I want one like that!!!
Yes its been cold here too. Today the high is 5. Isn't that funny. Well not so funny. Not sure if there will be school the next two days or not, which affects me because of the Grand children. See I thought those days were over . silly me.
So nice to see yor name on my site. Hope all is well in yor world.
Nancy Jo

PEA said...

Seems like everyone is being affected by this deep freeze that has us in its grip...brrrrr! I just went to bring the garbage out and the air is white from it being so cold.

With all your plans, it's no wonder you're so looking forward to Spring and Summer:-) That greenhouse sounds like such a great idea, that's something I would love to have. xoxo

violetlady said...

What great ideas you have. I would like to have a little pumpkin patch. I put my old Halloween pumpkin in the dirt again after I was finished with it. I heard that sometimes the seeds will plant themselves and grow new pumpkins. I tried this once before,but nothing grew. You commented on my recent post about getting books. Most of mine actually come from the local library. Stay warm and cozy!

Nancy said...

That year round greenhouse sounds great!!! Good luck with it! You'll have to keep us up-to-date on your plans for it.

I, too, am a live-in for my cats. It's their house! Or at least they think it is! LOL I have 33 total inside....12 in my large laundry room, 8 in my office, and 13 in my actual living areas. So it's not as bad as it sounds. Most all I rescued by trapping them as ferals and have tames all but 3 so far. They love me, and I love them! They are a lot of work but well worth it, just knowing they are safe, healthy, warm and well-fed.

((( HUGS )))