This morning we woke to a beautiful snowfall… it’s still snowing… big flakes... we’re supposed to get 3-5” according to the little man in the television. Beautiful is a relative term however. Beautiful as in – it’s beautiful coming down, beautiful on the huge branches of the pine trees. And beautiful tonite when the moon shines on it making it sparkle! But right now, most beautiful when viewed from my living room window while sitting under a warm blanket drinking coffee! That’s about it. In my opinion snow in Nebraska is not nearly as beautiful as snow in the mountains. We’ll see how I feel next year at this time! I wonder how much snow is on our mountain right now. Last year (Dec. 2006 to May 2007) the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area had 271 inches of snow. If I did the math right... that's just under 23 feet of snow! Yikes! and Brrrrr! (Note to self: get new snow boots & wool socks & long johns!)
Jerry is not thrilled with the idea of shoveling the driveway & sidewalk… but Hayli (2 ½) can hardly stand it that she can’t just go out in her pajamas & snow boots to play in it! Sounds like the neighbor has cranked up his snow blower! I think it needs a tune up!
In other news... I did a "case study" regarding toilet paper usage in our house! This study was done mostly to calm my nerves regarding how much toilet paper would be needed in the (hopefully unlikely) event of being snowbound in a cabin for 3-5 months. Based on using 2-ply, double roll toilet paper...during the month of November (minus 3 days in Kansas) two of us used one roll of toilet paper approximately every 4-5 days. Does this seem excessive to you?? Maybe we need less fiber!?!?
CURRENT & ONGOING PROJECTS: RESEARCH…and LOTS of it!! Jerry & I are both reading as much as we can about building, “solar systems”, composting toilets, water collection systems/cisterns, hunting (ok… that would be Jerry – I’m not into killing stuff unless I absolutely have to), winter gardening (starting plants in small containers in a sun room setting), canning & preserving food, etc. We’ve bought a few books (we’ll have quite a library by the time we move out there!). I’ve been reading online…random “living off the grid” & “green-living” sites and also blogs of people who are currently living off the grid and/or are building in the same area as we are going to be.
One gal who is in an MSN online group I belong to sent me three books… the Foxfire series by Eliot Wigginton… ever heard of it? Many thanks, Mary for those books! Recently purchased books include: “The Good Life” by Scott & Helen Nearing, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Solar Power for Your Home” by Dan Ramsey with David Hughes, “The Cabin” by Dale Fulfinger & Susan E. Davis and most recently “HOME WORK Handbuilt Shelter” by Lloyd Kahn. Thanks to my friend Angela for steering me toward the Nearing book… it is very interesting, especially so because the people lived in Vermont, self-sufficiently thru the years of the Great Depression.
WINTER PROJECT: When I was in junior high school I learned to crochet… simple stuff like hot pads… nothing fancy! Well… I got the itch to try it again after watching a friend crochet scarves. I went out & bought crochet hooks & yarn… and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was… just like riding a bicycle… just jump back on & start pedaling! Anyway, in a couple days’ time I whipped out a lap-size throw which I gave to Jerry (Merry Christmas!). He loves it… says it’s very warm & encouraged me to do more! So… I bought MORE yarn & am currently working on a larger throw. This one I will give to my dad for Christmas (it's purple - as in Kansas State - but not that purple!) & make another for my mom. I can make one in a 2-3 evenings (plus Hayli's nap time) so it goes quickly! If I have time I’ll make scarves for my kids.
I’m also hoping to start sewing my first quilt/bedspread! I saw a picture in a magazine recently that sparked the idea. Although the type of fabrics that were used was not mentioned specifically, I decided to visit a local thrift store & buy men’s dress slacks… wool blends mostly. I was going to cut them into pieces, sew them together & then do kind of crazy quilt stitches (you can tell I know nothing about this, right?) as decoration. But I may use the “slacks” for border & put a large piece of flannel-type fabric in the center, cut out triangles to make trees (I think they call it “appliqué” in the quilting world). I thought I’d use something soft like micro suede for the back. I’d like the colors to be neutrals – browns, tans, grays, blacks – I suppose it depends on what I can find. I’m wondering about making this more of a duvet –type cover because I have a comforter that I thought was great when I bought it & now I’m not digging it so much… but I could cover it with this… and not have to spend money on quilt batting, etc. Anyway… I was counting on my mom’s expertise (and patience!) to guide me through this project. (In the last 25 years the only thing I’ve sewn has been beanbags! I should be embarrassed… but sadly, I’m not! ) Mom recently (Oct. ’07) broke her arm & is expecting about 6 months of recovery / rehab so I can probably count her out on helping me in a hands-on way… maybe just verbal direction. My good friend, Julie (who is also an expert quilter) just moved to North Carolina – so I can count her out as well for at-hand advice & help! Guess this will be a true test to find out what I can actually do! (Are you getting the sense that I don’t have a lot of confidence in my sewing abilities? Hmmm? You’d be correct!)
Also this winter we will continue downsizing… getting rid of furniture and “stuff” that we won’t need – or won’t have room for. We sold our sofa & loveseat to the son of some friends… he needed them more than we did… and we bought a couple recliners (smaller & easier to move). We continue to have a booth at a local antique mall and put stuff on eBay… small stuff mostly… things that are easily shipped. I had planned to have a garage sale this fall but the weather didn’t cooperate.
I put up our Christmas tree after we got back from Thanksgiving on the farm…no lights this year... just hand made and/or rustic looking ornaments. I put together a BIG Rubbermaid tote full of beautiful but fragile Christmas ornaments...things I no longer use now that I have only one tree (instead of 4). These will go with my daughter whom I know will appreciate them. Besides, I am pretty sure she’s been coveting some of them so she may as well have them!
I’ve been methodically been going thru our house making note of items for Christmas re-gifting and am finding the list is getting longer! WooHoo!! To go along with the re-gifting theme… I think I will wrap these gifts in newspaper tied with raffia!