Ward House

"To everything there is a season

and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccl  3:1).  Yes, it is odd for me to be quoting scripture; there are some versus that are true regardless of one’s spiritual path.  I am in one of those ‘dark, cloudy, overcast’ times where the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away I can barely see the glimmer.

As another blogger put it today, it is not all blue skies and sunshine.  Today Ronnie dropped me off at work on his way in, I am eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and will walk home after work Walking to work was my goal for the Doing Not Thinking Challenge; it did not come together during the challenge, perhaps it will now.  This dark time shall pass.  We will find a way through and will be wiser because of it.

One Green Generation has created an interesting challenge for the upcoming holidays; yes, it is getting close to that time again and if you are a crafter, it is too soon!  No way everyone will get socks this year, unless I use thicker yarn and larger needles!  On that note, I believe that using circular needles to create socks will produce a more seamless sock – yes, pictures are coming this eve!  Anyway, that leaves the question of what to create for whom.

You’ll notice that I’ve blogged (or blabbed) about numerous giveaways.  Aside from increasing the awareness of different artists, it is also an opportunity to win items to use for said holidays or other gift giving occasions.  I am not saying that I would give my Mom a set of runes that I won – it is not her thing.  That necklace?  Oh, so her! – no Mom, I did not win either. =)  Just saying. Do not be afraid to regift, just not back to the person who gave it to you; that might be a bit tacky.

Take hope.

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October 19, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking, economy, self sufficiency | 4 Comments

Its on now

Meadowlark and I have been chatting about knitting socks and I even posted about how I wanted to learn to knit a pair. She was gracious enough to send 4 double pointed size 3 knitting needles to complete said project and then posted about how I was going to knit socks! So, it’s on now. I have no choice but to begin, especially since falling off the DNTC. *dutifully holds yarn and needles*

So begins the saga- one girl, four needles, one sock.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking | 3 Comments

Oh deer!

An exclamation, in a way. The deer attacked the lower garden last night, pushing through the mesh fencing and munching almost down to stubs, the cannelli and painted pony beans. Seems they are not too fond of black bean plants. *sighs* That means tonight, in the rain, we will be installing a pallet fence around the lower garden.

With everything deer have to eat in the woods and clover in the yard, why would they attack the beans? It was not exactly an easy target, though they were able to push through, unlike a pallet fence. *sighs*

My camera is full and after work today I’ll unload, post some pics from our glorious weekend and then get some pictures of deer damage. Looks like I need to start picking/canning a little early!

Doing, Not Thinking Challenge : I have been remiss in posting and update, so voila!

  1. Walking to work – I think this may have been a too hefty a goal for the moment. Kids activities have thrown a monkey wrench into the whole works. I am still trying to accomplish this for at least two days of the week.
  2. The remaining green house supplies arrived two weeks ago. Ronnie is working to finish the last bedroom upstairs before starting on this project. I guess my work is done for the moment, eh?
  3. Sewing machine – bought the new Brother, am sew happy now. =) Will post pictures of the skirt I made later one.
  4. Tallow – in the freezer. I am not going to cook this down until I can use the woodstove. Need to split some wood.
  5. Etsy is up, though no activity. I’m just blah here.

No news yet on the job. . . waiting. . .

July 20, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking, Gardening | 4 Comments

DNTC update

Better late than never, eh? I believe this update is a week behind.

  1. Walking to work: gave notice for my second job. This solves part of the problem. With the girls summer schedule, I believe I am good to walk to work 2 days out of the week.
  2. Windows for the green house: We installed replacement windows a few years ago and never removed the old storm windows; Voila! Windows for a small greenhouse.
  3. Sewing machine: Still waiting to hear from someone to fix my machine. Bought a new Brother CP 5000 something-or-nother and love it so far. Now I just need to learn to sew something other than hems! If I can get the other machine serviced/fixed for a reasonable price, I will do so and either keep, donate or do something with it.
  4. Tallow is still in the freezer. Back to item one, now that I will not be working at the restaurant in July, that will allow more time to cook this down and then make soap. I will be posting/asking about what recipes people like to use, scales, etc.
  5. Complete – Etsy banner purchased, ‘calling cards’ made.

It is amazing how life just comes together once goals are put into writing.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Crafting, Doing not thinking, greenhouse, self sufficiency | Leave a comment

DNT update and other nonsense

Not saying that the DNT is nonsense. This picture of my mug falls under the nonsense category. Kathie had posted about moments she is enjoying and I included vanilla biscotti coffee from my new ‘recycled’ starbucks mug. As that phrase sounds kind of icky, a picture is definately worth a thousand words. This is a new mug that is made from 28% post consumer plastic.

Now that the mug is cleared up, on to the DNT challenge. Not as much as been accomplished. *sighs heavily*

  1. Not walking to work yet. Went home sick Monday, had an appt. in Staunton Tuesday so that just left today. Tomorrow I am on call for the restaurant and work there Fri. & Sat. night. Good thing about the hours is that I can hopefully get some medical bills paid for and be in a better position financially.
  2. Waiting and watching for windows – watching Craigs List.
  3. Ronnie knows someone, who knows someone, who services machines for The Bacova Guild. Waiting to hear if this guy can look at my machine. In the meantime I did buy a Brother sewing machine. Has more bells and whistles than I currently use; however, this Brother will take me into more projects.
  4. Tallow is still in the freezer. Ronnie and I did talk (yes, talk is cheap) about making soap. I explained, briefly, how lye is made from ashes and how a ‘simple’ barrell can be used to filter water through ashes to make lye. Remember we have a wood furnace and wood cook stove – Lots of ashes. In the meantime, my next trip to Walmart will include a lye purchase, unless the local mart has it – I will be floored if they do!
  5. Complete. I purchased the banner, completed policies, listed and have even paid on my first invoice! Whoo hoo.

Wow. Now, before I forget, Sharon has some great info here about saving/preserving/using herbs. Enjoy today and I’ll be back.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking, economy, family, Recycling, sewing, wood cook stove | 2 Comments

DNT challenge update

I am day late in posting this update. Fortunately, not a dollar short for once. One of the waitresses is out for the next two weeks so I have picked up her days plus my regular days. Makes for some nice jingle in the pocket though not much sleep in the bod. *yawns* Anyway, check out my earlier post about goals; this is what I’ve accomplished so far:

  1. No walking to work yet – still working on the logistics of the p/t job and kid activities.
  2. Have already put out feelers for unwanted windows.
  3. sewing machine still a big ?. The closest service center is almost 2 hours away (one way).
  4. tallow is still in the fridge.
  5. Purchased a banner that kind of fits my magpie, fairy-diddle behaviors. Completed the policies, about me, etc and listed my first items. Please let me know what you think.

One of the massage therapists that works at the Warm Spirit Spa (located in the Grist Mill) was in the bar last night (while I was working, obviously) and we got to talking about massage therapy as a business. On several occasions she mentioned that it was her opinion that I would be really good at it. Not sure why she thinks that. Anyway, I am giving her statement serious thought and it seems that as hours pick up at the restaurant and my hours at home are less I wonder if I am in the right place. I’ve posted about listening to ones intuition and my intuition says that I am not in the right place. Right now my actions are all about doing what will pay the bills. Yes, I preach to the girls to do something they enjoy and the money will come. I can say that to them because I will be there to help them until they get onto their feet; a safety net I do not have. Massage therapy is a skill that I would be able to barter, along with sewing, gardening, cooking, etc. I have concerns about being in insurance as the economy continues to tank. Already there are clients who have do not have a bank requirement for insurance and therefore canceled their home insurance policies. More of this will happen as money becomes more scarce. My computer/artsy skills will become less needed as people will stop internet service in favor of electricity, food and other essentials.

Massage therapy pulls from the creative dance side of me. Did you know that for 10+ years I studied middle eastern dance? The group I used to perform with can be found here. I stopped performing 2 years ago – could no longer afford the 2-hour drive to practices and classes. This picture is from a gallery opening we performed at in Blacksburg several years ago. This field fits my tattoo’d and peirced personality. I have yet to meet another insurance agent with a nose pin!

What are your thoughts? I am willing to invest in this program if it will help with the future. Not quiting my day job either; going to keep going with it for as long as I can.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking, family, sewing | 2 Comments

Doing Not Thinking (DNT)

A few weeks back Kathie at Two Frog Home started the Doing Not Thinking (DNT) challenge again. So much more can be accomplished when one has the support and reporting requirements of and to a group.

After joining the group I realized that I had not really thought through what I wanted to accomplish with this challenge. Well, now I have it:

  1. Walk to work at least three days out of the week. Now, keep in mind that I live 2 miles from work so this will be no big deal. The challenge here is making sure I get up in time and leave the house when the bus picks up the girls (8:00 am). I’ve timed it and can walk 2 miles in 30 minutes. Reading this post by Sharon prompted me to get off my arse and start doing something to help fix the problem. Yes, I am but one; however, my one plus another plus another eventually adds up to many. My generation will only see the tip of the climate change iceburg. My children and grands will have to live that horror. If I can save just a little bit of that pain then I will do what I can NOW.
  2. Begin collecting what we need to build a greenhouse. The major challenge on this will be locating the windows. I’d like to repurpose old glass from a building being torn down or old windows being replaced.
  3. Find out what is up with my sewing machine. Straight stitches work just fine. A surging type stitch (zig zag) is too loose to be much good. My Singer machine is older and yes, I still have the original manual. Now, pick yourself off the floor. =) Even using the instructions, these stitches are still too loose.
  4. Make homemade soup using some tallow that we saved from a side of beef. Now Rhonda Jean, over at down–to–earth, has a great soap making tutorial and a current entry about making cold pressed soap. She also includes a soap calculator, though I am not sure I know how to use it. If the tallow does not work, I will make our soap using Rhonda’s process.
  5. Get serious about my home business so I can quit waiting tables (still have my day job). I have started creating an Esty store (the name is subject to change) and while this appeals to my creative nature, I am not sure if this is the way to go. If you needed to buy towels, wash cloths for the home, and cannot make your own, where do you go to get them? Walmart or do you try to buy homemade? If you go the homemade route, do you shop online? What types of online stores do you like? Do you flea market? etc.

This seems like a short list yet is packed with some intense (for me) items. *whew* Now to get started.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Crafting, Doing not thinking, greenhouse, Recycling, self sufficiency, sewing | 1 Comment

Hearing Voices a.k.a. intuition

You ask, “Annette, are you hearing voices?” Well, no. Only when my kids try to talk to me from upstairs ’cause they do not want to walk down the stairs to find me. That still, small voice ‘whispers’ to my heart, applies subtle pressure, encouraging me to take the plunge and leave the waitressing for something more substantial, like writing, gardening, learning to wild craft; all survival skills that I, my family and community will need in the coming years.

It is amazing how some ideas/events all come together to send a loud and clear message. For awhile I’ve known that waitressing part-time is not the best use of my talents. The owner of the restaurant even said so. He also said I would discover myself on my own. Not sure what that meant. The extra cash that waitressing bring in helps to pay the bills along with a few creature comforts (where did that phrase come from, creature comforts), so why rock the boat? Well, several occurrences have come together to reiterate that this second job needs to be looked at more closely. One is Rhonda’s post, next is drawing the Bat medicine card (another story if you are interested) and my branching out into writing for Blogs other than my own (Agrarian Times and Homemakers Who Work).

Listening to one’s intuition is important and is a skill we have as children, loose when we enter our teens and adulthood and hear again as we enter middle age and get older. Rhonda’s post got me to thinking about what I want to do in life – 40 something is not too late! When one considers that Social Security/Medicare will not be viable when I am ready to retire at 70, income generating skills need to be in place and earning before I hit 50.

Do not think that because you are in a rut that you cannot get out and do something else. Yes, these are scary times. I am content with modern comforts: cell phone, internet service, electricity, etc but these are not a gimme. Baby steps. Just a few in a new direction, pause and take a few more.

Ok, have that off my chest. Now it is time to act. Perhaps this is my Doing, Not Thinking Challenge.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Doing not thinking, economy, family, self sufficiency | Leave a comment

Selfless Activism Challenge

     Kathie is a great motivator; the creator of the Doing Not Thinking Challenge (DNTC), which was a success and ongoing, has a new thoughtful ‘quest’:  the Selfless Activism Challenge (SAC).  I’ll let you read her post to get the gist of the challenge.  The big picture of politics can be, and is for me, overwhelming.  How can I make an impact?  Just me.  I’ve decided that starting small, in my community, is one way.  I will hopefully see the slow wheels turn here as opposed to in the US or the world.  That is such a HUGE wheel to try to get moving.  If this little cog in the Bath County wheel can get our wheel to shifting, perhaps it will create a minuscule turn in the much larger wheel.

     Our board of supervisors and school board are composed of an unable-to-think-outside-the-box group of people.  New blood does not want to run because the meetings run HOURS and most things are just tabled with no solution or action.  I have kids in school and to sit and listen to a group of adults whine not only is NOT my idea of ‘fun’; it is a time waster.  However, if the next generation (me) does not run, the same old blood and thinkers will continue to make the same bad decisions. 

     A friend ran at the last election and won the nomination.  She is struggling with the poor time management and lack of thinking skills that are present on the board.  She and I have talked about my running at the next election, which will not be for another 2 years.  This would be great for the challenge and perhaps she and I can work together even thought I am not on the board – why wait for action?

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Doing not thinking | , | 1 Comment

It’s electric!

Not the slide, though I still love that 80’s classic.  What is cool is that my girls love to do the slide and don’t think it is weird when I jump in with them.  =)  Today, I believe, Sally unveals our first Recycling (sustainability) newsletter.  As soon as I have an official copy, I’ll post.

DNTC update:  Recycling at the Preserve is going well, even as an infant.  In Bath County, we do not have trash pickup as you would in cities.  I take my trash to the recycling center (and dump if it cannot be recycled at the center or my compost pile) and then we have Jacks Trash service who will pick up your stuff for a fee.  The Preserve contracts through him for our regular trash as well as recycling.  He called me the other day to say that he still notices alot of mixed paper in our regular trash.  I went ‘dumpster diving’ (we dont really have dumpters, just very large cans) to find the building’s tennant (First National Bank) is not part of the program and then individuals from one of our other buildings are also not recycling – makes it easy to identify individuals when their names are still on the paperwork!

Anyway, for the next newletter in December, my article is about where our electricity comes from (in Virginia we import the same amount we create by burning coal) include copies of the three building electric bills and set a challenge – like no space heaters for a week and see how it impacts the bill.  Our local electric coop can give me the usage for the week we choose for the challenge and then the usage from that same week last year to use as a comparison.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Doing not thinking, Recycling | , | Leave a comment