Anniversary day.

Actually, it was yesterday, August 23. Wow, from 1970 to now seems like a very long time, but in my mind, the years have been really short. We’ve always been a good balance for each other and enjoy each other’s company and we are best friends too. We certainly have had our share of issues, especially in the first 7 years when we went to couples counseling at U of A while students. We took an unusual path getting married so young but then heading to college and life in Tucson. No parents around and no pressures to be a certain way. We were carefree, had lots of sex, and traveled. Of course, we did go to our classes and B graduated in 1973 and I in 1974.

Also, we didn’t have our daughter till we’d been married 15 years and then our son came 9 years after that so we had lots of time alone with each other.

This we bought at Costco but it’s the winery in Napa we wanted to go to but there were no openings that day. It was beautiful smooth champagne. We decided to go out for breakfast at a new to us place in Auburn. It was mellow and the food quite good. We will go back again. Then we thought about doing dinner out but decided I would just whip together a pasta dish with homegrown tomato compote. I also used some baby eggplants that were delicious.

We’ve had so many adventurous anniversaries. On our 7th anniversary, we backpacked in Mt Rainer and hiked up to a glacier. There was a backpackers hut up there so we stayed in that and in the morning went out and picked huckleberries for pancakes.

Then we’ve had lots of special dinners out. Americo’s in Sacramento was in one of the first years we were here in California. Later we always went to Mt Shasta for our anniversary and that became an annual event for years. We loved the campground and then after about 10 years, it sold and went downhill and we stopped going. We also had the one year we had traveled the coast and had the most amazing breakfast at Big Sur. I can’t remember the name of the lodge but it was famous. I’m sure if it’s still there, maybe I’ll google it.

Sometime after that, we started going to Tahoe for anniversaries. We had our tent trailer and usually went on the East side. It wasn’t till way later we discovered the West side, Nevada Beach, in Zephyr Cove where we go now.

It’s been a wonderful life.

Simple Sunday

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!! No, it’s not that bad yet. We are getting a great crop of tomatoes this year as opposed to last. This morning I made 4 more pints of tomato sauce from the Ball canning book. I used citric acid instead of lemon juice. The next batch of tomatoes is ripening in the box. I’m guessing at least 5 more days. This reduced for about an hour.

At the farm, I picked up 2 zucchini to shred and freeze some and make zucchini bread with leftovers. I also picked up some more cucumbers to make a dill refrigerator pickle and I also want to make some tzatziki for falafels and pita bread. This week I’ll do some white beans maybe as a dip, salads, tofu something, and probably some BBQ chicken. Anniversary day (Tuesday) we probably will get an early dinner or late lunch depending on where we go. Hard to believe it’s 52 years. Honestly, it doesn’t seem like that but there it is. It’s been a pretty wonderful life.

I have been thinking of trying to sell my wedding dress on eBay to hopefully a museum. When I sold the very old Quaker dresses I had it was to a museum in PA that bought them and that was so right. My dress was handmade in Poland ( probably before she immigrated to NYC)and was my great grandmother’s. My mother repaired the lace panels and added a starchy fabric to the bottom so it would hold its shape better. It’s not doing me any good in a box under my bed. So I guess this year would be a good time to deal with it. My daughter, who is non-binary, certainly wouldn’t ever use it.

We’ve got 2 weeks before we go up to Tahoe so that’s exciting. It’s our favorite spot so that’s something to look forward to. September is still busy in Tahoe but most of the true tourists have left.

This week the Flylady zone is the bedroom and master closet. Since we only have one closet in this house, I guess that’s the master one!!!:) I’ll probably add the LR zone too as that’s easy and I’ll have the time.

Friday things.

I had my consult with my PCP about my slightly higher LDL #. My HDL was very good and the ratio was good but he wanted/needed to tell me to try and cut out some higher fat foods like butter. 😦 I love butter but I told him I will do my best and he said we can test in another year. So that’s that. I will try to cut back on butter and cheese and some carbs. I cook with a lot of butter but usually in combination with olive oil. I’ll just try and be more conscious of using butter like on toast and bagels etc. Also, my thyroid numbers came back normal. Last time when my LDL was slightly high it must have been about 6-7 years ago, I started eating oatmeal for breakfast 4-5 times a week and within 6 months my cholesterol dropped 60 points.

My Myeloma labs came back almost the same as last month. So hurray on that. Another month of freedom so to speak. All my other labs were normal and the same as before. So all in all, it’s good.

Our anniversary is next week and B said I should go buy the Louis Vuitton. I said I’ll think about it. It’s not a cheap purchase and I’m quite happy with my Coach bag I bought that is similar in size to the Neverful. Still, a Louis is a Louis. I think my obsession( sort of) is that it’s French (although not many are made in France anymore) and the quality of workmanship. I only love the LV monogram and the black ones. The others are really quite gaudy in my opinion. Well, I’m certainly not getting younger:( That purchase would definitely NOT fit into Frugal Friday!!!

Today is a home day and I’ve done my morning reset, bathroom swish and swipe, and kitchen tidy. I plan on going to the farm this afternoon for a few things. I also am feeding my sourdough starter and plan on putting it into one jar instead of 3 1/2 jars. I might make some sourdough bagels this weekend. If I’m cutting out some carbs I might make bread with whole wheat as that is better on the glycemic scale.

Tomorrow after swimming I’m planning to go to Trader Joe’s for a few things. I know they have Ezekiel bread which is good and whole wheat tortillas too. I’m certainly willing to switch things up a bit. Besides, I always like a challenge.

Our hot weather continues. It’s very depressing after what seems like forever of 100 degree days. The nights aren’t cooling off hardly at all. Next week temperatures are all in the mid 90s so maybe that will be a little better.

I’m waiting for the next batch of tomatoes to ripen so I can process them. I’ll probably just do the tomato sauce again. I don’t think there’s too much else I’m interested in doing except getting some corn to quick freeze. Last year I did about 12 bags of corn and we used them all. Safeway usually has the best prices. I’ll check their flyer later.

On the spending side, I put an order into Rancho Gordo for 8 bags(1lb). Since they are in Napa they arrived in record time. If you haven’t tried their beans, you should. They are all heirloom and absolutely delicious. I ordered a new one to try called Whipple bean. I also added on a jar of Mexican oregano. When I opened it, it didn’t smell too much different from my oregano. So I’ll have to see how it is in recipes. Let’s see, I ordered falafel mix from Amazon because TJ’s doesn’t carry it in their stores anymore and finding it in the regular grocery store is a PITA. I bought some salad stuff from Holiday Market too. Even with cash envelopes, I’m still spending @ $700 a month on food. I guess that’s just the norm. At Costco, I did mostly cash and then the rest on the debit card. Costco is always more than I think it will be, of course!! Well, B did buy Sierra pale Ale beer but it’s really the best price for it if you drink beer. I also picked a few bulk items like sugar and some more flour.

Simple Sunday

I’d say overall a nice week. Our temperatures were in the 90s but it wasn’t unbearable. This coming week we do have 4 days of 102-104 degrees and that is not comfortable. Well, with global warming I guess the temperature of the planet is going up. I read that the UK is really suffering, and quite a few of my favorite bloggers have been talking about the incredible heat.

We had a very nice walk this morning and we were the only ones till about 6:05 when the one older guy showed up. He’s been walking almost every day and seems nice. He doesn’t say much and keeps to his own space. It’s rare we are walking alone as most days there are at least 6 other people. I’m sure that with sunrise getting later there will be fewer people. The Canada geese babies are all grown up and all flying. It’s always fun to watch their development from puff balls to flying.

After we got home I made up the last batch of refrigerator jalapenos. There was just one jar. I already did 2 other refrigerator ones. These are really spicy.

Yesterday after swimming( which was wonderful as always), I made up the pickled beets( 2 jars) and shelf-stable jalapenos. I got 4 1/2 pints and 1 pint.

I decided not to go to the gym tomorrow so I can process the box of tomatoes. These are all ours and I’m guessing 30#s. There are also tomatoes all over my counters in different ripening stages. I’m thrilled to have so many as last year was dismal.

And we have lots of cherry tomatoes still coming and it’s barely the start of the tomato harvest.

That tomato on the top left is a Black Krim. Very tasty.

This week is the bathroom zone and I just finished that too. The joy of being clutter free and with just enough is that my zones are generally no more than 15 minutes at the most except in the kitchen. In the bathroom, which is very small, there’s only one towel per person and they hang on hooks. I wash towels once a week on Mondays. So there’s no pile of towels, although right now I have one extra in there that came from the RV and should go back.

I just passed reading 101 books so far this year and there were probably a few more I didn’t write down. Interestingly, I had picked up two Zen interior books at the pet book store for $1 each, and they were written in the late ’90s and it’s amazing all the ‘catch ‘ phrases they used like ” less is more”, declutter for a simpler life, and lots of other things. These 2 authors, were WAY ahead of the whole ‘minimalist movement’ that really took off in 2010. Of course, the Japanese were always very minimalist in their homes and Zen was a huge influence. I will keep these 2 hardbacks for now as they are inspiring to read through. If you’re interested one is called Wabi Sabi, and the other is Zen Interiors.

Frugal Friday

It’s been a fairly frugal week. Yesterday before the gym I went into Winco mostly to get some Ball Quart jars as I read somewhere Winco’s prices were the lowest. The quart jars were $13.73 so a good price. I also picked up some KA flour that was half the price of what Safeway’s was. All in all, it was slightly over $100. I used cash. Using the cash envelopes this month has really helped me be more conscious of what I’m spending. I still need to go into Costco for some basics like olive oil, sugar, coffee, and a bottle of champagne to celebrate our anniversary later this month.

I have a large load of tomatoes from our garden ripening so I can process them this weekend. I think I’ll do some salsa and sauce if there’s enough. I bought some jalapenos at Winco and will do some more refrigerator jalapenos and maybe some cowboy candy( sugary jalapenos).

I still have some more beets to can too as I bought another bunch at the farm stand last week. Maybe I’ll do that this morning as I’m not going anywhere today.

We’ve had home-cooked meals all week( tofu burgers, BBQ chicken,) and last night I did pasta and used some of the dehydrated cherry tomatoes in olive oil. It was quite good but I cooked the dehydrated tomatoes too much in the butter/ olive oil sauce and they were slightly overcooked but still delicious. I just did another batch of dehydrated cherry tomatoes and I’ll put them in olive oil as well. I think I’m going to buy a different dehydrator too. The one I have is round and plastic and doesn’t hold a lot and the one I’m looking at is square with metal shelves. I think that will work better.

I just finished reading Todd Borg’s new book,” Tahoe Moon”. If you love Tahoe like I do, you will love this latest thriller.

Simple Sunday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY # 28 to my dear son, Zephyr.

On a Sunday morning, 28 years ago, we were scheduled to go into Auburn Faith Community hospital and induce labor. My ob/GYN came in in his tennis clothes, broke my water and by 12:30 I was in labor. My son was born at 2:28pm that afternoon. It was very hard labor but fortunately quick. Whoever said you forget the pain after childbirth obviously didn’t have the same level of pain I did.

I’ve been very busy canning blackberry jam and salsas since Friday morning. My daughter and I went and picked 2 buckets of blackberries. I did one bag yesterday and will do the other bag today. I need 1/2 pint jars so I plan on going into Target soon and seeing what I can get.

I didn’t swim yesterday because of the canning and it was a good thing as I started at 6:30 am and finished by 11am. Today, I’m only planning on doing the blackberries if I can get the 1/2 pint jars. Tomorrow, I will can the tomatoes. I have plenty of jars for that. I’m liking the new canning pot I bought it is much nicer than the old Ball metal one.

This week I have my fasting labs on Wednesday. My appt is early so fasting shouldn’t be a problem.

Tomorrow I plan on going to the Roseville rec center and then drop off library books. My two most recent ” TheLioness ” by Chris Bohjalian and “The Paris Apartment” are OUTSTANDING and I would highly recommend.

Well, no zone cleaning for me today, I am beat. 😦

Is it ‘back to the 70s’ or just 2022???

We left Tucson, Arizona in July of 1975. Summers in Tucson are HOT! Little did we know that Northern Ca can get just as hot as Tucson and it was when we arrived. Moving to a very rural, logging, a redneck community was a bit of a shock but we did adapt(eventually). There were some like-minded people, especially on the fire crews that were hired seasonally. And that is where this story begins. Shelley M was one of the few women on the fire crew and a very independent person. She may have been one of the first ‘tiny house’ people as she lived in a 16 ft trailer. But she became the first person I knew who did bulk buying, organics, raw milk, herbs, medicinals and, much more. She basically taught me everything I know about bread making, using mason jars to hold food, using grains, rice, making yogurt and lots of other things. She was an avid Adelle Davis fan and was always talking about nutrition, herbs, natural healing , etc. She also was(as far as I know, and I’m almost 100% sure of this) the only female fire lookout who lived in the lookout that was up at Duncan Peak. She would live up there for weeks on end and then come down to her trailer which was above Foresthill in a place called Baker Ranch. Remember this is 1975,76,77, and probably 1978. Baker Ranch is located about 10 miles above Foresthill and at that time was definitely ‘out there’. Eventually, when we bought our 30ft trailer, which was a lovely shade of pink, that’s where we were able to find a spot that you rented. That was in 1978.

It was shortly after meeting Shelley that I started buying in bulk. Brown rice, flour, honey,( no sugar back then for us…Heeeheee:) ), raw milk, nuts. When we went to Mother Truckers we would fill up our bottles with shampoo and rinse too. We also had a buying club thru Mountain Peoples Warehouse( that later became UNFI, which Barclay just retired from after 25 years) but that’s not part of this story. Anyway, we would meet the truck or go up to Grass Valley and pick up our bulk food, cheese by the block and whatever else and then we would split up the orders.

I think businesses like Mountain Peoples was way ahead of their time as there wasn’t Costco, Sam’s club or any of that. There was Sacramento Co-op but I don’t remember shopping there.

So here it is 2022 and we’re still buying in bulk although now it’s Costco or Walmart. UNFI doesn’t have small buy clubs anymore but there’s still Briarpatch Co-op in Nevada City and soon to be in our nearest town of Auburn!!! (Very Exciting). So the cycles of life continue. I’m stillmaking bread( although my first years of bread baking they was more like ww bricks), canning, batch cooking and so on.

So in some ways it isn’t much different than what I started in 1975.

Simple Sunday

A lovely walk this morning although with the cloud cover it was muggy/ humid. Our temperatures are 10 degrees higher than Sacramento which is crazy but they are getting the delta breezes and we have none.

A busy morning when I got back. It’s sheet day so the sheets have come off and are in the laundry and I did a bathroom swish and swipe.

Then I started on the canning I planned on doing this morning. I decided to do pickled beets and another 2 jars of bread and butter pickles in the water bath canner. My canner is on the way out as it is rusty and the rack is rusty. But it works fine for boiling water. Nonetheless, I just ordered a stainless steel water canner with a rack from Amazon. I had ordered a stainless rack for inside the Ball canner but canceled the order after looking at the condition of the Ball canner overall. So the other one is a good deal with 35% off so it ended up at $53.00. So the pickled beets made 2 jars and the pickles 2 jars. Next week at the farm stand I’ll buy 2 bunches of beets and that should get me 4 more jars. I’m going to open one of the beets in a few days and check out the taste. This recipe was from a Youtuber ( Wyse Guide) who has a farm.

I finished the Anne Hillerman book and started the Jacqueline Winspear latest. Both are excellent writers.

This week is still a light week for me and then next week I have my fasting labs and regular labs and I’m going to get my new eyeglasses ordered. I’m using my Lindberg frames so that will cut some of the expense. I’ve had these frames for over 5 years and they are remarkable. They are rimless and quite light. There I’m thinking they are a titanium frame. It’s the progressives, and the no line bifocal, that cost.

It’s hard not going stir crazy this summer but our Tahoe trip is about a month away now so we have that to look forward to.

Flylady zone is Entryways. My favorite blogger, Minimom, is going back to using Flylady after trying the SHE method. She is a great example of how minimalism works for a family and she has adapted Flylady to her needs. I think that’s the ticket with Flylady, is to use the basic concepts and then adapt them, which is what I do. But I do think you have had to declutter first which is always included in her weekly tasks on her website. Granted it’s not a very sophisticated website but it does show what to do each day if you need that. I do my zone all in one morning usually Sunday or Monday morning. Then each day I do a house reset and tidy and usually always do a bathroom wipe down.

Friday things

Today has been mostly tidying the house and catching up on a few things. I returned a small handheld label maker I had ordered a couple of weeks ago from Amazon because the ink was skipping and after trying a bunch of times just gave up. I’ll look for a different kind of label maker when I feel like it.

I’m planning on using my cash envelopes for August for a few things like groceries, Target, Home Depot and, a few others. I feel like we need to be a bit more focused on where the dollars are going. I know our daily budget but lots of time I just say to B to get it at Home Depot and then he buys whatever. It’s covered in our checking but I feel like we need to say there’s this $amount and that’s it. I’ll focus on August and see how it goes. For some things like gas, I won’t do cash so that’s the debit card. But I will have an index card with the amounts as ‘virtual cash’. All our regular bills are automatic.

Today is our last really hot day and then we start to trend downward into the low 90s. Maybe we can start eating dinner out on the patio again.

After my gym workout, I went into the library and picked up my holds. Two were canning books but they weren’t quite what I was after so I guess I’ll just have to buy the Ball book again. ( I gave it away a few years ago because I hadn’t used it). Most recipes are on- line but I’d still like to have a copy for reference mostly. I was excited to get the new Anne Hillerman book. I still love all things Santa Fe and New Mexico and appreciate the native culture immensely. The pinion pines smell amazing and the sky is incredibly blue. I’ve bought pinion pine incense and it’s lovely.

Tonight is supposed to be pizza but alas, it’s too hot so we’re going to have a brown rice salad. Last night I made zucchini fritters from the farm. I’ll probably go out there later this afternoon for a few things.

Not much else going on here.

A goat cheese quiche:

Garlic herb butter

corn from the farm.

Living Small

It’s interesting how with intention comes purpose. Our intention was always just to make this house work for us because, well, honestly, it was all we could afford. Now with California prices for houses, rentals, and condos, thru the roof, we are grateful for this place we call home. Our mortgage is less than any rental would be in this area. Most rentals for 2 bedroom 1 bath run around $2200. That’s a lot of money and with only living on SS, it wouldn’t be possible. We have had the very occasional thought to sell and we could get a decent amount for this place, but we couldn’t buy again with the proceeds and then the rental cost would be very high. This August we will have lived here 27 years so I think that this is it for us.

So with intention, we plan to live here until we die and make this work. That gives us the purpose to make this place ‘aging in place’ friendly. We have a step at the front door which could be changed to a ramp if necessary/ and or a rail for support. The house is just one level except for the stairs in my office /catio area. That couldn’t be changed but I suppose some creative solution could be found or I/ we wouldn’t go down to the office area. We plan to change to a propane “wood stove” in the next few years so there would be no wood burning or for B processing wood. All of these things would simplify things and I think as we age we either can’t do what we once did or we don’t want to. I certainly don’t want Barclay using a chain saw when he’s 80!!!

Living in a small house has forced us to be creative and look at things differently. We’ve had to find creative storage solutions and declutter to make this house function. There are still ideas I have about rearranging things but for now, the way things are arranged works.

Probably the biggest asset for me is the outside space. Living in a small house is fine but if there was no outside space, personally, I would find it hard. I need to have outside space and some expansion around me. The main draw to this property was NOT the house which as I’ve said was in terrible condition but the land was amazing even though it was overgrown and had huge piles of crap EVERYWHERE. Being on top of the hill we have sky 360 degrees around( not views but sky thru the trees.)There were multiple buildings that the ‘old man’ had built for his assayer business and we had to tear these down. There was also the barn. This is not really a ‘cool’ barn but a barn he must have put up in the early 50s for his mining equipment. Barclay and my son have worked hard to make the barn more stable and usable. My son has lots of his tools for art and video production out there and it does give us the storage we don’t have in the house for camping equipment, seasonal stuff,etc. Since we’ve decluttered out there so much we don’t have a lot( us meaning B and I) out there. My son is a bit of a hoarder and does have a lot. I’m okay with that since it’s his stuff and he’s an adult and can make those decisions for himself. Plus he sleeps/works in the Tuff Shed Studio that was our original home school. So that’s cool. He likes to build things and has all kinds of tools to do that.

Living small has:

  • made life simpler
  • helped us focus on what’s important
  • made us be creative with our space
  • allowed(forced) us to accept that the house has limits(no, a baby grand piano DOES NOT FIT!!!!!
  • showed us decluttering non- essentials is ESSENTIAL
  • helped us become minimalists( to some degree)