Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Monday, October 5, 2009

Do Your Work Outside.. Also Coupon Cutting Morning

Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.~Proverbs 24:27

There are so many things that need detailing around this house! Hard to know where to even begin. After we moved in, things were kind of hectic with my Mom's passing and my changing jobs and two of the 'kids' finding jobs. Lots of changes. We didn't get much more work done here for a while. Things are settling down a little bit now and my mind is turned toward getting back on track with our house projects.

I've always liked the proverb above about getting your work done outside first. Well that's what I'd like to do now that the weather is cooler and its not so exhausting to work outside. Some folks thought I was a little nuts for starting my garden last winter while we were still building the house. Well.. I'm so glad I did. The garden is already showing promise, getting prettier and the soil is improving and we have had a bit of a harvest this summer and fall and will have more by winter. Next year there will be lots of little shrubs to put out around the yard too, which will save us tons of money since I grew them myself from cuttings.
You either spend time or money I think, to get the things you need. When it comes to gardening I usually opt to spend more time than money. It is slower my way, but I think more satisfying when you are done. Then you can survey the works of your own hands and enjoy the fruit of your own labor.

Currently, working outside, there are four things outside I want to accomplish:

1. Get the fall garden entirely planted and tend it. Including any new fruits I want to try to plant this year.
2. Complete the job of cleaning up our land, get rid of all the remnants of construction mess, burn pile residues and such like.
3. Begin to work on the landscape, start to plant around the edges of the backyard in particular with the aim of eventually created nice shade and sun beds that will sort of 'embrace' our back yard.
4. Finish the siding and trim work on the house itself.

Number four is completely out of my hands. I can't do it. Hubby and the guys must do this and they have some other things they are doing first. (fixing cars) Its really hard for me to be patient with a semi-sided house. I look it and think 'eyesore' it just bugs me. I am trying though. I know it is what I must do. There's also a fine line to toe between encouraging folks to get things done and nagging. When it comes to things I want Hubby to get done, I don't want to nag. As wives everywhere know however--easier said than done. ;) The eyesore sort of stuff just gets under our skin and is hard to let go of.

I've begun work on the first three goals. I do most of the work in the garden itself and I am putting our young house guest to work on the more physical clean up chores. Yesterday I had him mowing down weeds on the hillside and it already looks so much better. Today, God-willing--dunno I heard we are maybe in for some big rain? But if not--he is going to be cleaning out piles of vinyl trim pieces that the former owner stored under our porch. Why?? I dunno. I suppose it was convenient at the time, but what a mess! I shudder to think what creatures lurk under there, spiders? snakes? Anyhow--he'll need good gloves, in case of biting bugs. I am going to also have him clean up all the sides of the house and around the porch today-or when its not raining. He's also hauling some rocks and yet more concrete blocks and putting them where they go. We still have a huge pile of concrete block that Hubby is not ready to get rid of--I can't wait until the time comes when he is prepared to part with this 'treasure'. :)
The big rocks I want to use to start building beds on the edges of our backyard. If it turns out the weather is uncooperative I have a plan B to make sure our young boarder can earn his keep. I need a part of the basement cleaned and some things hauled down to my pantry and put in order. He can help with that. !
Having a house guest can be very useful. He needs to earn his keep and I need stuff done. I don't mind feeding him at all, and he has no problem working for me in exchange. Win~win

This is the best season for outside work in our climate. If its not terribly rainy-- it should be nice out usually. We are in the 50s at night now and in the 70s during the day, very pleasant. Its too dark to see but I do think it must have rained already , as Mojo just came in from outside with Hubby and has been 'crated'. Poor Dear! He is making his whistly~whiny noises. No doubt he has to dry off before we can 'release the hound'. Of course he has no idea what transgression he must have committed to be thus jailed.

The sky is beginning to lighten now. I see it is not a sunny day and yes it has been and continues to be raining. This is certainly not a drought year! No complaints from me though as I know some areas of the country have snow already--and I am happy to be here.

This morning I have desk work to get through. One of my first chores to to clip coupons so I can do my sale shopping this afternoon. Grocery Game has made an improvement on the Harris Teeter List--I'm excited about this because I had just recently emailed them and suggested this very change and they are doing it! From now on the Harris Teeter list will come out on Fridays by noon, and then be updated on Sunday! I won't have to wait for the list until Sunday anymore. This way I can get more of my shopping done before the weekend and pick some deals up after work in smaller batches--not cause a back up at the cash register with all my coupons and such like, and not have to get rain checks when they run out of the best deals before my list comes out. Yeah Grocery Game for being so responsive to customers!!

This morning my daughter went out to her job early at the donut shop. She took my car as we share vehicles around here. She'll be home around noon and I will then go shopping. On big coupon-y shopping days I like to plan for easy dinners. Today I'm thinking I'll pick up some of the fresh pizza dough that Harris Teeter sells. I never knew about that until I got my job there and saw folks buying lumps of fresh dough. I have my own recipe that I've used but I'd like to try this one. It may actually be less expensive than mine since mine calls for a can of beer in each batch. If its good--well that could be a great little time saver in the future. I could just bring fresh dough home from work with me. The kids do the pizza assembling here all I do is provide the stuff.

Before Daughter comes home I also need to make some chicken stock from yesterday's dinner. I roasted two chickens yesterday, which is pretty typical for me on Sundays. Today I will pick the carcasses clean and make stock and tomorrow I'll turn it in to a pot of soup. This is such an economical way to feed a houseful and my soup is always better than canned. It will last a few days and folks will grab it when they want it. Its a great thing to have on hand.

Hubby is still raving about last week's black bean and salsa soup with the Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce in it. He's afraid I won't be able to duplicate it again. I don't usually write down recipes when I create a new soup because they are the product of leftovers generally and so when he really enjoys a soup he has this fear it will never come again. I think though, adding the BBQ sauce and using grilled chicken bones-- well that was the 'secret' and I doubt you could go wrong with almost any combination of the ingredients if you have the smokey homemade stock and the Sweet Baby Rays in the pot. Its just gonna be good. I am thinking smoked stock would be good with seafood too, maybe shrimp and sausage? I have some in my freezer. I could make a pot of jambalaya maybe. He'd like that!

Well now I see the garden in the morning light, beneath a heavily clouded sky. There's a bit of a wind blowing the canna leaves and no birds venturing out just yet that I can see, although we have some windows open and I can hear them as well as some crickets and frogs. The newly mulched spots in the garden beds look fresh and pretty and I am very proud of my work in the field!


  1. Mary,

    I am so envious of your climate in that you can have a garden in winter! So nice to still be able to grow things to supplement your menus.

    Dear Mojo sounds like such a character! We are sure missing having a dog here and I enjoy reading about the escapades of your Mojo!

  2. It is nice. There's a bit of risk involved but the seasons tend to overlap pretty nicely--so you can be doing something gardeny all year here. About the time the fall harvest will be done it will be time to start seeds for spring planting. :)

  3. Oh yes-- Mojo is currently tied to my ankle. I had some cooking and baking to do this morning and he thought that would be a good opportunity to shred a few things. I decided otherwise. ;)