life

It’s the Great Puffer Fish, Michael Myers

Life and Homesteading

My great homesteading successes so far have been closing the storm windows and practicing with a pour over coffee maker.

The thing is life has been interesting since my last update.

There was a train crash involved. An actual literal train crash that included reversing for two hours into Rochester and school buses into Syracuse to finish the trip.

So while there hasn’t been a lot of homesteading work, there’s been plenty of energy everywhere else.

Halloween

I’m putting this on its own tab…

This is the lead in holiday to my favorite quarter of the year and I started out posting a literal ad on my Facebook asking for someone to do ANYTHING for Halloween. I was looking at a drought year.

Then we got to today where I’m so overloaded with the holiday that I’m ready for a Christmas party.

Somehow our work decorating contest turned into a full on haunted house. Multiple rooms, jump scares, coherent story line, the whole set up. I suppose I can cross haunted house experience off my bucket list.

And somehow I set this whole thing up (I mean that literally I generated most of the theme) to center on zombies and zombie making. Our team mascot is now Puffy the Puffer Fish.

The kicker is that I hate zombies.

Horror

The rest of Halloween rolls into horror. So much horror…Including Halloween.

Listen my feelings on slasher flicks hasn’t changed much in my review hiatus but I. Love. This. Movie. It’s a hell of a ride. See the first film, maybe the second, but definitely this one. I should sit down and completely review it. My major take away is that it feels more like a Western than a horror film but that’s actually a strength of the film. More on that later.

In other heavily hyped horror that I need to review: Haunting of Hill House. One line review? This is grief fiction pretending to be horror because it uses horror tropes. It’s heavy handed and takes itself too seriously and there is true horror that does this better. I suppose if you need a bridge into horror or really love symbolic horror it would work for you but it honestly failed on all major fronts for me.

I guess I’ll end with one last hyped horror, the new Sabrina. It was enjoyable. It’s a little Mary Sue and it does that remind you it’s horror via no bright colors thing but it was an easy watch.

Knitting

At some point I need a page update but I’ll get there.

Mitten season is here in a big, big way. It’s going to be a lot of mittens for the next few months.

Update, End of September

In fairness I did say posting would be spotty.

The weather people haven’t quite come out and said the S word yet but this feels a lot like the year we got hit with Knife so this might be an early snow year. The first half of the month was brutally hot. The last week or so has been much more traditionally fall though, so the lake may stay calm.

I have to keep reminding myself that 40s and 50s heading into October at night is where we really are supposed to be, this isn’t the fluke, the past few years have been the fluke.

Life/Work and Other Normal Stuff

I have fallen completely off my budget and I’m feeling it. I have a new mantra (self control is empathy for the future self) and it actually seems to be helping this time-along with mitten season and Swagbu.cks (does WordPress still hate that word? Don’t worry I’m not dropping a referral link).

I’ve done things like refuse to carry no more money than my bus fare at least a few days a week and try to find work arounds for my comfort products. I do actually own an entry level espresso maker with a steam rod. It’s no coffee bar. It gets the job done.

My job transfer hit in late May and I did most of my training through the slow months. I was told on Friday that we go into heavy overtime starting Monday, and most people are talking Christmas money.

Me? I’m talking about throwing money into Rieshaw and buying cranberry beans.

Horror

I sat down today and watched The Ritual again.

This is a movie that I should enjoy. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be a fan of this film.

I’ve never been able to successfully get through this movie. Today was no different. It never holds my interest.

Knitting

I haven’t put my link on the side bar yet so this is the Rieshaw Knits Page on Facebook. I’m not going to push that link every entry but I also can’t promise it’ll go up on the side bar quickly.

There is an interesting project in the works over there and if you’re a fan of those subscription boxes you should follow the page through October for more information.

It was interesting going back into production knitting after well over a decade. I’m not interested in going back into full production knitting as opposed to direct commissions but it is a structure I have experience with and enjoy.

That was the only project I worked this week. Tomorrow I’ll do the finishing work and start something new. I want to do Christmas work but I also have stale/relatively old commissions I need to work. It’s a balancing act.

The Return

A lot of time has passed, hasn’t it?

Honestly I was thinking I was pretty much done with blogging. But I’ve gotten more than one email asking when I was coming back, if I was coming back.

There’s been a lot of changes since the last time I wrote. I actually look back on the period of my life when I last wrote with a certain level of nostalgia.

It was so stable.

There’s a lot to go through. I mean, I’m a trucker wife running a homestead by myself st this point. I’ll get to that eventually.

And that name on that knitting photo? I did actually start a micro knitting business.

(You can follow that page at Rieshaw Knits)

I even got a new job myself!

I’m thinking at least in the short term this blog will be knitting heavy. Expect a post a week, if that, at least I get my blogging senses back.

Candied Nuts

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This has been one of the hardest, most mentally challenging periods of my adult life.

I am fighting one of those battles where you finally face a choice-stop, recharge, and figure out how to be more productive or continue throwing energy at the situation until either it or you breaks. I will be moving in the near future, though it remains to be seen if it will be my choice or my landlord’s. I spend so much time cleaning and organizing and purging personal items that I have literally gotten to a point where I can’t tell if the place is actually dirty or if it’s all in my head.

Like I said. It has not been a good month.

I have finally made a decision, however. If constantly running on so few resources that I have allowed my own body to trigger my anxiety disorder is not winning the war, then I might as well pull back and start giving myself the grace that I would be giving other people in this case-that advice that if 10 is good, 100 is probably not going to fix anything either, if 10 is ten times more than what most people would be putting in anyway. I’ve been already grieving the loss of my fall since my future seems to be nothing but scrubbing floors and looking for new housing [or worse].

I found a bag of raw nuts at Target, and today is my normal day off anyway. I miss the feeling of sliding into autumn and I miss my normal excitement leading up to the season. So I made candied nuts and called it an act of self love and self care.

Candied Nuts

Note: I bought the ‘normal’ sized bag of raw Planter’s mixed nuts. This made enough sugar mixture that I probably could have used double the nuts and still have been fine. You can coat a lot of nuts with the sugar mixture as written.

At least 1 pound raw nuts

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

 

Preheat oven to 250

Mix dry ingredients-the sugar, spices, salt

Add nuts, egg, and water

Toss until well coated

Line a tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Let cool, and place in a jar.

 

 

The Battle of the Monster Jars

Via Pixabay

Via Pixabay

I knew I had been gone from the blog for awhile but I hadn’t realized that it had been this long. My computer is slowly dying and it’s not making blogging a pleasant experience-and Mid needs to be gone for me to use the desktop. I also have been ‘doing things’, so while I do have things to blog about the time has been spent actually doing things.

I need to start to listen to my gut instinct.

I somehow was tasked with putting together a Halloween party. Nothing too over the top, nothing complicated, nothing horribly scary (the gore hound me began to cry). I saw an idea somewhere for monster faced jars-I won’t link a photo because you know at least some level of ethics. They were mass produced  however so I don’t feel totally horrible for taking the idea. The jar is beyond simple, just burlap ribbon, googly eyes and the jars.

Yeah. Well. If it doesn’t involve a wheel, sticks, or string. I’m going to fail at it.

That’s not exactly true. I would like to reattempt the project when I have glass bonding glue. I bought glue that didn’t -not- say that it worked on glass,  but I spent an hour making and remaking two jars, watching them fall apart over and over. You don’t know angst until you’ve started swearing at googly eyes.

Eventually I decided I like my blood pressure more than I like the idea of cutesy jars, so I layered orange burlap, yellow tissue paper, and parchment paper in the jars to make ‘candy corn jars’.

I’ll admit that they’re not my best effort. But I’m not having a stroke over them either.

Time, Stress, and Canning Jar Storage

I am obviously back in the swing of blogging, but my quality has slipped.

I know that, I’m okay with that. It’ll come back with time.

Not-canning and not-horror and not-knitting life right now has just gotten a little out of hand. Blogging, even a few fractured sentences, is helping to ground me. I’ve finally managed to get the hang of not caring about my stats while maintaining at least a low level social media presence. And I’m writing about the (very) quick projects I’m managing to get in.

The good, the bad, the I have lost my mind completely. Mid’s grandmother passed this weekend so we’re dealing with wake/funeral cycle. Becoming death-positive has actually made this passing smoother for me. M gave me the life advice that I still live by. She told me that she was 90, and had seen everything from the Depression to the moon landing to the rise of the smart phone and the one thing that was clear was that it was a cycle, you just had to ride it out. There’s terrible things but there are wonderful things, and you can’t have one without the other-but both will end so just remember not to let the terrible stuff swallow you whole.

I am matron of honor for the woman I consider my sister. If you told me 10 years ago I would be in that position I would have laughed. Here is my overweight, bald, foul mouthed self trying to figure out how to be a matron of honor. I hope I’m not the person that trips.

And oh yeah. Weddings. After 8 years, Mid and I finally have a date to make this show official. Everyone is laughing at me because it’s 3 years out but we’re handling it as a deadline more than a ‘desired date’. If nothing else, I’m getting a really good idea of what I -don’t- want. I have also threatened, with all seriousness, that I will wear my vintage oxblood Doc Martins, rainbow knee socks, and walk to funeral music if I have to ensure that this stays low key.

storing empty canning jarsThere is a list of topics that are always coming up on the canning groups I’m active in on Facebook.

Dilly beans, my recipe for firestarter, how to make jam with less sugar, and how to store jars are big ones.

There is no single good way to store jars but this is the way that I have found works the best for me.

I mark my old lids with stickers and store them in a plastic ziplock bag. When I empty and wash a jar, I put one of the marked storage lids back on the jar complete with the ring. When I need to use the jar, the ring is already in place and the ring is with it already. If I need to use the jar to store food in the fridge or travel with it to work, I don’t have to go digging for a used lid.

I live in a very small apartment currently overrun with a mobile dj rig and the jars get stored wherever I can find room (that goes for both empty and full jars). The lids mean that I can stick them wherever and don’t have to worry about dust. Most of the time my collection rotates fast enough it doesn’t matter, but during fall and winter when canning slows down it eases up what I have to do in the summer.

Cleaning, in 2 Minutes Bursts

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I have no idea why this was tagged as cleaning on Pixabay. But it amuses me.

Bear with me.

I know that a lot of people are going to cross their eyes and wonder what sort of weirdness I’ve gotten into this time-or truly how deep does my laziness run.

I’m a terrible person to ask cleaning advice from. I’m a horrible housekeeper. I’m not a horrible housekeeper the way that bloggers say that they are and mean ‘I haven’t bleached the grout in the last 15 minutes, take my blogging card away from me until I get my act together, lawl, lawl’-when I say it I full and truly mean I’m a slob.

Contrary to what people will sometimes whisper I’m not a hoarder. My issue isn’t with throwing stuff away or getting rid of things. I just hate cleaning with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I don’t like it, I don’t feel better in a clean house-I lived with an ultra clean person in grad school and it was like living in a dentist’s reception area.

There are so many other things that I would rather be doing with my time than cleaning.

The point being, if I’m telling you that I have started a collection of cleaning tips that have helped me immensely, then you should probably pay attention.

[If this is not an original idea and you know where it comes from, please let me know so I can credit them! Thanks!]

Clean in 2 minute bursts

Not, like, literally in 2 minute bursts. But do that too, if that works. My friend Victoria passed this tip along to me and it actually works for me. Break tasks done into things that can be done in less than two minutes and then do as many two minute tasks until you can’t take it anymore.

Most of the time it’s the size of the project that turns people off of cleaning-and the momentum to start. Again, if you’re the type of person that can power through four hours of cleaning and then just do spot cleaning then this tip probably won’t make sense to you. My list is sometimes broken down into ridiculous sections like ‘put the knife in the sink.’

But you know what, you do enough ‘put the knife into the sink’ sections and you’ve made a dent in the cleaning.

Take Breaks

I got this tip from A Beautiful Mess years ago and it’s really stuck with me.

For the most part, you don’t need to power through your cleaning. If you need to clean for five minutes and then take a break for 20-there’s actually nothing wrong with that.

I think I needed to hear that it’s okay to have whatever natural cleaning rhythm you fall into. Not everyone has the same levels of patience for housekeeping than other people do.

I can’t clean but I can babysit a canner for 8 hours. It’s all in our individual tolerances and it’s okay to do what  you can handle and then stop for awhile. As long as you start again. That’s the hard part for my slob soul. Remembering to start again.