Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Early Chilly Morning in Pokeberry

It was quite dark out when I woke just before 6 this morning. The moon shown in our windows much of the night, nonetheless when the house lights go on it appears dark outside. Mojo, as big and fierce as he seems to be, requires a porch light or he won't go outside in the dark. I like to tease him about that. Having heard the large group of coyotes and what I think was a bobcat's scream out behind our woods at night, I don't really blame him--but still--he is a German Shepherd! There's not much out there lurking that isn't twice as afraid of him as he is of it.

I woke to a HUGE bedroom. Hubby's office and technical things have all been carted to his new office which is across the pantry and front hall from my kitchen. Now I can finally organize and deep clean my bedroom--but its so big! What will we do with all that space? I probably should take my desk (aka big table with vinyl cover) up there--but I really want to have it stay here by the garden window and the kitchen.

I work at my desk in 'snatches' while doing other things in the house. I call it 'work' I think it is. I research, think and write mainly as well as now doing more crafting too. This post will be written over the course of the morning, likely take me a couple hours to finish--but I'll have done an awful lot of other things during that same time period. I like to change position often as I work--keeps me from getting too stiff or lazy.

When I'm on my PC, I may sometimes be watching the birds, but I'm also busy. I am looking mainly for some way to not only continue to save money but to also begin to bring some in--something I can do--not so much to make tons of bucks but more to make 'egg money' or 'pin money' maybe pay for groceries again like I could when I had my last couple of jobs. Of course with more gardening and less folks in the house, that bill should be easier to pay too. I would love to find a way to make some pocket change writing--that is always on my mind, or maybe an etsy store or ebay.. we'll see.

I've been busy this morning while writing, as usual. I've fed pets, seen Hubby off to work, cleaned up any dishes left from our late night snackers--our two sons who are still living here. I also started many of the chores I need to do today.

I did a load of the boy's really nasty laundry. They may not have found jobs yet, but they are working. Yesterday they had a job here on the house that involved one of them crawling under our porch and another one working on a ladder in the basement. They replaced all the insulation under there and did some carpentry work. They also moved Hubby's office furniture and techy stuff. Later when that porch gets torn off to rebuild more properly, we'll have some work to do on an area of the outer wall that the original builder 'hid' by putting up a porch too quickly. We run into more surprises that way, although at this point they aren't that surprising.

Anyhow their clothes had a great deal of red clay mud on them. I was actually thankful my washer is nearly old as dirt itself as I wouldn't want to put that in a nice new one. YUK! It reminded me of our early married days when Hubby was a derrick hand on rig. One of his jobs was to mix the mud. He would come home with his clothes in a duffle bag and I'd have to take them to the laundromat where they had one super size machine they had designated for the clothing of rough necks. This saved all their other machines from the mud. Gosh that was a long time ago! Number One son was an infant back then, now he has a child of his own!

I always feel kind of proud of my boys when I wash dirty working clothes. Its a weird thing--its like things are as they ought to be.

Speaking of #1 Son (Ruby's Daddy out across the country, he started his new job yesterday. He called on his lunch hour to tell his Dad and I all about it. He sounded excited! He's been working for a company that wasn't very good to its employees for a long time. Twice they laid him off and then fought his unemployment. He has struggled with debt because of this and other things. He still hasn't got his unemployment from the last time. His family has been waiting without his income for a couple months. The company first lets their side of the paperwork go as long as they legally can and then they fight it. They keep a group of lawyers just to fight their unemployment claims! They lay folks off frequently--even before the economy went sour they had been doing that.

The new company seems to be a better bunch. They have tuition reimbursement at 100% and they will even PAY it in advance. He has to be there awhile but he may get some education so that's great! He has insurance for himself and his family already and other benefits and a better wage. He is also now in a field in which work is not going to disappear very easily, and if he has experience he should be able to find jobs anyplace. It suits him well, it is a IT job that also includes some sales, a great combo for his personality and skill set. We are so happy for him and his family!

Thinking of my sons working, as I said, makes me just feel good. I noticed one of the items I tossed in the laundry this morning was #2 Son's worn and dirty old hat from a company he used to work for. I heard that they are hiring again so I mentioned it to him and he is sending his resume. He had left them to take another job but that company went under, and most companies have had hiring freezes at that time. Some are beginning to lift them. Some of the companies that have died over the past year have also re-organized and are back up and running. Perhaps #2 will be back to work soon too. He is also a student.

Number 3 Son is probably the best worker I ever met, except his Dad. He can do just about anything--but he hates school and would never like desk work. I'm hoping something right for him will come up soon as well. He'd be such a good apprentice in almost anything. He just needs a foot in the door. I often think of praying for the boys when I'm doing their laundry or cooking for them. I don't do all their laundry--but if they get it in the hampers on time I'd rather sort it in with mine than have them run separate loads. I don't go chasing for it though. If it doesn't make my schedule its their job.

After my little morning clean up I started a pot of black beans on the stove. I want to make some soup with them later today and use up some good smoky grilled chicken stock, as well as leftover salsa and chicken. This is a sort of pattern meal, I usually make a pot of black bean soup a couple days after we've had tacos and after I've made some chickens and some stock. I should make some corn bread today too, and some tortilla chips to go with the soup instead of crackers. If I hadn't made the tacos recently I'd be making some other sort of soup today.

Yesterday I was looking for containers for my garden and I found a guy on Craigslist who had wonderful 6 gallon food grade containers by the hundreds and was selling them for 50 cents a piece. I particularly liked that they are a bit 'squat', wider and shorter than the 5 gallon buckets I've been collecting. They are fairly clean too. They're a great size for the garden but also for my pantry, they fit in spots my old 5 gallon ones wouldn't.

I filled up my jeep with 35 of them, and Mojo and I carted them home to use. The ones I washed out this morning are designated for seeds and dog food. :) I'm excited about them! I can go back and get more as he always has them. I plan to wash out a couple of these per day and use them to get my pantry more organized, possibly also for some craft supplies and maybe out of season clothing.

When it is time to start planting outside many of my new buckets will be filled with a nice mix of small wood chips, compost and peat moss and be planted with tomatoes and such like. I made a mix of those things last fall for my big pots to grow my broccoli in and they worked great--these are near the same size but sturdier.

Instead of just a square foot garden, I will have a 'bucket garden'. Its good to know I can go back for more if I find a need. I will have my garden beds for 50 cents a piece and they will be totally mobile and easy access--no kneeling to pull weeds, or digging into clay, rocks and tree roots with a shovel for me!

My bucket trip also expanded my horizons even more as I got more familiar with a couple of 'new to me' country highways and made mental note of what shopping resources are along them.

Mojo was my driving buddy. I usually have taken a son or Hubby along anytime I meet someone from Craigslist --for safety sake. Mojo is now a very impressive looking German Shepherd and I think possibly could be as good a personal body guard as my tall handsome sons at this point. He now gets the job. :) He sat pretty outside the jeep with his leash tied to my door handle while the buckets were loaded into the jeep. If he had been inside the jeep I don't think he'd have allowed a stranger to be messing with it. It all worked great.

I used to take our old Shepherd Barney in my car for the same reason. I always felt safer and he LOVED to 'go for ride?'. True to his kind, Mojo also LOVES to 'go for ride?'. Its helpful because right now it is so cold outside I'd much rather he do that than 'go for walk?'.

I guess we are in a holding pattern for cold right now. Hopefully the rain we've been getting will stay away at this time or we'll be dealing with snow too. This morning it is 16 degrees as the sun is now beginning to rise. It is not so cold as it is up north--but the north is set up for that kind of cold we are not here. Things freeze here like water pipes. Also if it snows we do not have plows or salt for the roads like up north, nor do we have drivers who know how to drive on ice. You can tell there's going to be weather here when everyone runs to the store for milk and bread at once. Its a 'sign' kind of like wooly bear caterpillars predicting a cold winter. Snow is always preceded by a run on milk and bread.

Another chore begun this morning is mopping my kitchen and pantry floors. I'll mop the hall and the rest of my living space later today--its definitely 'aerobic exercise' to swing and push a heavy cotton mop across a painted OSB floor-- really ladies-- you could pay for this sort of workout! I'll be happy to let you too. ;)I do this job in sections--I am done with the kitchen and pantry section now.

It will be nice when we finally put in our permanent flooring. We've decided on big tile and area rugs. Our main reasons are durability and cost and ease of care. When it is in I will buy myself a swiffer to clean up the daily Mojo hair. Since we have a big dog--area rugs and tile are probably better than wall to wall. Mojo will wear out a few vacuum cleaners in his time most likely--the less carpet the better.

I have a long to-do list today, but I've got a good start on most of it! Time to enjoy a mid-morning breakfast now that I've worked up a little hunger, and then on to the next things!


  1. What a long post, Mary!!! You are such a busy put the rest of us to shame! LOL. :)

    Those food grade containers will be so nice! You got a good amount to!

    Mojo is so good looking and sounded like such a good boy during the transaction! He is a great dog!!!

    You have me thinking about making split pea soup tomorrow in the crock pot. I know you didn't talk about it, but just hearing your cooking ideas, made me think of the split peas in my freezer and it is supposed to be 39 degrees here in the morning!!! YIKES! We are not prepared in any way for such low temps here!!! Luckily I don't have to go out the front door till 9:45 am...maybe it will rise a few little degrees before then!!!

  2. I do write long ones don't I? Well, just dunno sometimes how that all gets on the page.

    This cold thing is not agreeing with me. I would like it done now. :)