Autumn days

An absolutely beautiful day here in Northern California.

We are having wonderful walks in the dark with the stars twinkling over head.

The leaves are turning golden yellow.

 

Tonight is Saturday Soup, our new name for the menu.  Up tonight is a split pea with cheesy croutons on top.

Is it Friday?

I’m off schedule this week and it drives me crazy.

Yesterday, we went to Costco and Trader Joe’s because B was going to drive and help me. But it’s usually gym day. So that didn’t happen. Then our stove finally bit the dust this week as I was trying to make my sourdough boule and everyone kept complaining about the propane smell. When the oven wasn’t calibrating the temperature, it was doing this weird thing and propane must have been coming out. So, I found a good deal at Lowes for a $1000 stove on sale for $650. It’s nice and it was delivered on Wednesday. But then it wasn’t hooked up for dinner so that threw me off schedule too.

Well, it’s probably good to switch things up!!

So today I’m going to the gym and that will throw off my day. But at least I can make Friday night pizza in my new oven!!!

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This is the last of the cherry tomatoes. I’ll make a sauce after I use the food mill to get the skins and seeds out.

 

Clearing more Clutter

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This quote really says it all.

I’ve been removing more little things that are just clutter. Old pictures that are duplicates( like @ 200), old pens, those old family books I mentioned in another post and more.

I’m up to 600 items. Of course, 6 pens is only 6 little items, but I still count them.  I also count stuff I throw away like old files and papers and junky little things. I figure it’s all part of decluttering another layer.

One of the most helpful things I’ve done is take pictures with my iPhone and then look at the space.  This has been very helpful in really seeing the space from an objective view.

Right now, I’m trying to work on my desk area. My desk is a Heywood Wakefield double wish bone table that I have the one leaf folded down against the wall. I have my printer, 2 plants, an orchid, my Mac book and then a desk organizer for bills etc. That’s the problem area. I need to figure out a way that this stuff isn’t so visible.  I also have a bin that was on the floor with files and that too looks too messy I realized after looking at the pictures. I think I might try getting some magazine holders and see if that works.

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I took off the wall folders so that looks better. Then I moved the file box to my Ikea cart. So, I’ll take another picture and see if that looks better.

My neighbor is dying and ‘death decluttering’

Our neighbor is dying. She has stage 4 Ovarian cancer and has survived for almost 4 years but now things have taken a turn for the worst. She’s 2 years older than me or B’s age 67.  She was a kindergarten teacher and hadn’t planned to retire but once diagnosed she did. After a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy, she was in a partial remission and the tumors had shrunk. Then she took a year of alternative therapy with juicing, became vegan and gluten-free. She maintained that till just this year. Then she got into a clinical trial at Stanford and it was really working, of course, until it stops working and then you have to leave the trial.  She didn’t want to do any more chemo as the quality of life over quantity was so important.  So she has had this past year chemo free and started to enjoy all foods again even coffee.

Our neighbor was an avid horsewoman and sports enthusiastic. But with this last year, she started the ‘death decluttering’.  She sold her horse, trailer, truck, all horse equipment, and even his shelter. She sold her kayak, canoe, bikes, and so much more.  She has understood the ‘death decluttering’  very well. She doesn’t want to burden her husband or her two adult children. It’s a brave thing she is doing.  She has a large support group( whereas I have no ‘girlfriends’ as such) and they are rallying around her. It’s a wonderful thing.

Death comes to us all one way or another so we must really look to each day as an opportunity to live fully but also, realizing NOW is the time to do the’death decluttering’.

Take some time in your life to get rid of things that are burdensome, so those left behind don’t have to wade thru piles of stuff.

Recently, I gave away some old family books that I had put in a bin. These books were over a hundred years old and belonged to B’s grandmother.  He never knew her and they were just musty old books his mother sent to him one year. B did not have a good relationship with his mother(overall), and she certainly didn’t like me and only met her granddaughter a few times and never met her grandson. One year when my son was about 1, she said she had the choice to go to Iceland or visit with us to see Z and our daughter. Well, she chose Iceland and died never meeting her grandson.  So recently, I was thinking about these connections and books and thought, ‘why am I keeping these books out of some obligation”?  So after taking them to the ASPCA bookstore, I felt a huge relief. It was freeing.

So try it. Start the ‘death decluttering’.

Apocalyptic Fires in Wine Country

The fires over in Napa and Sonoma are just awful.

It is so sad and shocking to see the devastation of this beautiful area. So many people displaced and homes lost. It does put in perspective how quickly one can lose everything even life itself. These fires raged so quickly many people and probably animals just couldn’t get out quick enough.

Such a tragedy.

 

A Minimalist’s day

Often my days are about doing daily simple chores and going about my life.

I never overload my schedule and even when I worked at the library l kept my schedule simple and unburdened. Now it is even more so as I don’t have a go-to job.

I start my day with getting dressed even down to my walking shoes. I drink a quick cup of coffee that was prepared the night before and then is on an automatic timer for 5:30 am.   If the dishwasher needs emptying I’ll do that.Then I head out the door and drive 1/2 a mile to our park and walk for 32 minutes. Then upon returning home, I get more coffee and then write my list for the day and what I want/need to accomplish. I include simple things like dust, prep for dinner and what we’re having, budgeting stuff, gym, etc.  I browse thru the news and some blogs.

Then I’ll do a few quick chores, like make the bed, take out the laundry, swish and swipe the bathroom. I don’t have young children but both my adult children live at home so there’s always some extra things(dishes, laundry,) that might need attention.

If I’m going to be baking bread like today I start prepping thing and get my starter ready and then the dough. Or if I’m making my delicious maple granola, I’ll get out oats, maple syrup etc.  Otherwise, I wipe down the counters and make sure they are clear and uncluttered. Plus I do this in each room. Our house is tiny so really it doesn’t take but 10 minutes max.  But it is by having minimalized our things that it is a quick process.

I  am amazed at how simplified my life is since embracing minimalism.  It is so true, less is more.

The rest of the day is either going to the gym or whatever chores might need doing. If there’s a project I’m working on, I may do it after lunch. RIght now, I’m still working on the barn decluttering so I may go out for a bit to do that. I prep for dinner between 4-5 depending on what I’m making.  I also usually read for a few hours and then dinner.  After dinner, we might have an outside fire and talk about the day or current events. I go to bed fairly early 9pm or so. I might read in bed for 1/2 hour but generally lights out by 9:30 or 10.

Dinner tonight is chicken noodle soup and homemade bread.

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Simple Sunday a day late….

We had a lovely Sunday. It was beautiful out, not too warm, not too cool.

I finished painting the front door. I finished painting the shake shingles the other day and then B painted the sunporch wood that he replaced.  He worked on a ton of wood, moving it and cutting it. In a few years we’ll probably switch to propane stove but for now, we have a lot of wood.

I cooked a whole chicken for Sunday Supper plus mashed potatoes, tofu, and that mushroom golden gravy. It was yummy.

We watched Wonder Woman last night and it was great. A female heroine that is tough and beautiful.

Today, I’m in the kitchen zone but I actually did most of it yesterday so I only needed to mop the floor and clean the stove top.  I might turn on the self-cleaning oven later this week.

1 load of laundry almost done too.

I managed to gather another 50 items to toss or give away. Lots of little things but hey it’s more out the door.  My goal is 1000 items by Thanksgiving.

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Also, we had very strong wind picked up yesterday evening and as a result, there’s been a terrible fire over in Sonoma ( wine country).  Many homes and business lost.  I had just said to B that I’m going to update our emergency packs the day before.  So today I’m going to the barn and get an empty bin and write on it what goes in. Mostly this would be  for photo albums and our lock box with important papers.  I have 2 other packs with things like toothbrushes, first aid kit etc.  I guess timely with what’s going on and necessary.

Tonight I’m making a cauliflower cream cheese soup and homemade bread and a spinach salad. I haven’t made cauliflower soup, so I’ll post how it is tomorrow.

So, other than that just puttering around the house and garden.

 

 

Tartine Bread

I’m back in the swing of things with bread making. So, the last loaf of a sourdough but it wasn’t the dough that rests and goes thru the full autolyse and bulk fermentation.  I decided to get out my Tartine Bread book which by the way reads like a chemistry class. It is quite challenging to read and follow, but I persevered thru and made the loaves.  It’s anywhere from a 2-day process to 5 days depending on if you already have a starter.  It is an amazing bread and well worth the effort.

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It tasted terrific. The recipe makes 2 loaves so I waited to bake the 2nd one today and then my oven wasn’t cooperating.  This has been going on for a while where it won’t calibrate the temperature.  It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does it’s frustrating. So I turned the oven on and off for 3 hours and then finally it was coming up to speed. For the Tartine bread, it needs to be at 500 degrees for 30 minutes with the Le Cruset in the oven.  Finally got it to work and the second loaf is done. Now I’m in the process of baking 12 huge potatoes for double stuffed potatoes that I’ll freeze.  When you’re cooking that many potatoes it takes twice as long.

 

So I guess we’re going to go buy an oven this weekend. Not frugal, but I cook so much it’s hard to be without a reliable oven.  This one was a lovely GE profile that ( if I remember was @ 1200).  I found a nice Whirlpool one on sale at Lowes for 650.  It’s normally 1000 so a good deal. As long as it’s self-cleaning and has sealed burners, I’m good.

I’m  really trying to keep things as frugal as possible so, we’ll see.