Monday, March 26, 2012

Granola too

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
          ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 It is supposed to be Spring.

Spring in my head means sunshine. Now, I know that for many, Spring simply means no more snow. But spoiled CA girl that I am, spring means sunshine and flowing skirts and having tea parties where you say "Dahhh-ling" a lot. This, is not spring.

Spring is not the dreary rain that insists on piddling down outside. It is not even a proper rain, just enough drips that we can no longer say it is sprinkling. Spring is not the clouds that insist on over-staying their welcome. This my friends, is not spring!

Luckily my children have been enjoying the rain. And so I can love it through their eyes. But for myself at the moment? The rain makes me grumpy. Of course my drippy nose (not unlike the rain) and my cough and sore throat do not help. It is very hard to have a good attitude I have found, when one is sick. Especially when one is a sick mom that has no one to chase the baby or generally be mom while I lie in bed getting better. Having a good attitude (and not feeling too sorry for myself) is taking a lot of will-power at the moment. And prayer from babies helps lots.

And hot tea, I want some hot tea.....

Alright, water is heating.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about being "crunchy." I find I have been paying closer attention since writing that to see where else my life leans that way and why. I know a lot of what I count as normal is from my childhood. For instance, you are supposed to have a garden.  Did you know that?  Not that I look down on those who don't, I promise. I think I see it rather in the same category as a car. I understand that some don't have one, for reasons either in or out of their control. Some want one and cannot because of financial or other reasons, some choose not to have one, either because they simply don't want or need one. That is their own choice, but for me? My current life would be much harder without a car, impossible even. I feel the same way about a garden.  There are things I like to do, places I like to go, items I need to achieve or accomplish and in order to do them - I need a garden.

However, I have a problem this year. I first planted baby seeds in one of those indoor green-houses. they sprouted wonderfully! But once I was hardening them to prepare them to go outside they were accidentally left out overnight - the one night in weeks it froze. And my baby plants were dead.

So I started over, using the "bury in the ground" pots so that there would not be the same issues - and they would hopefully be a little stronger. They again grew wonderfully!

  And when they were about 6inches tall I put them outside...only to have the torrential rain beat them into the ground. Now I have only about 1/3 of my baby plants still alive.

Perhaps I should be thanking God for the rain today? It is the perfect drinking rain and my green babies probably love it. It is not cold outside, I think Jack Frost has finally melted back into his warm weather hibernation. And so perhaps, without this rain there would be no garden at all.

I still could buy new baby plants from the store. But I HAD plenty. And they were so happy! It has felt like this year Mother Nature has not been my friend. Perhaps I should just throw all my extra seeds onto the dirt and see what comes all on its own. My garden wishes to be wild this year! Come to think of it, this is likely the perfect weather to do that. My children are even now playing out in the rain, should I hand them the seed packets and let them have at it? Tempting...but I will admit I have trouble giving up that control. Could there be a life-lesson in my garden this year?

Taylor says it is too cold outside. And I know that the cat has used one of my boxes to do her business recently and it has not yet been for now my answer will be no wild seeds. But perhaps tomorrow, a children's veggie garden, I will admit I like the sound of that. My wise mother says that she has never met a child who would not gladly eat the vegetables he had helped to plant and grow. That is the secret you know.  And Frances Burnett herself says:

“As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.”

I like that. So I suppose even if my garden is small this year, I do have one. Oh, and I have potatoes too! I am very excited about these. We found a whiskey half barrel 50% off and bought it on a whim. I planted potatoes and hope to see them emerge soon. I can't wait to try them!

Apparently I did not take any pictures of my potato barrel. I will have to fix that, after it starts to sprout.

So all that to say, I would say one of the things that makes me "Crunchy" is the fact that I usually have something good to eat growing in my garden.

Goodness I hate coughing! It comes at such the most annoying times. And try putting a baby to sleep when the need to cough catches you unexpectedly. She is not amused. And poor sick baby as she has also been, it simply makes it worse. Perhaps it is good it has been raining. We match the rain my child and I. Drippy noses and all.

The next thing I will add to my list is coconut oil. I used to make my own lotion. Using coconut oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil and Vit. E oil. I used beeswax to bind it and the whole process took about 45 minutes and had to be repeated every month since it went rancid pretty quickly. And it never felt like there was really enough moisture for my skin type - so I switched to just plain Extra Virgin, 100% Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil. I get it in the supplements section of pharmacies like Rite Aid. But I am almost out and I think next time I will get it from amazon. It really is amazing stuff. I use it on my face, I use it as a lotion or as a hair conditioner. I use it in the bath, just a little added to the water for soaking. I use it after shaving as a sooth-ant, my husband does too - it makes for no in-grown hair or razor burn.

Speaking of hair I suppose the next "crunchy" thing I do is no 'poo. I have technically not washed my hair since about... November of last year. So 5ish months? I use about 1tsp - 1.5tsp baking soda for about a cup of hot water. Mix it and pour it over my head, rub it into my scalp and rinse. Then I take about an ounce of Apple Cider Vinegar and mix that with about a cup of hot water - I do the same. It makes my hair ooooh so soft! And the vinegar smell goes away as soon as my hair is dry. I have been meaning forever to get some essential oil to add to it as well, but that has not yet happened. So for the moment my hair usually smells like...well, hair. But the shampoo smell so far is the only thing I have missed. And who really needs that anyhow. A few drops of oil will take care of it, just have to pay for the bottle. I am thinking I will go with grapefruit EO whenever I do happen to get around to it. I also tried the Oil Cleansing Method of face washing for a while (similar concept) - but since the whole idea was to replace harsh soap and I only used hot water on my face anyhow..I found it unnecessary.

Speaking of paying (heehee, go back and look if you need to, I did speak of it! Gives you a little glimpse of  how my mind works), I am also a HUGE deal-finder. I am not what you would call an extreme coupon-er because I do not have any sort of hoard. If I do not need it, I do not buy it. Regardless of the deal and the chance of maybe, sort of, possibly, kinda, by chance needing it later. I need to KNOW 100% I WILL need it in the next 0-6 months to have anything stock-piled. But I do use coupons, not sure if that matches the crunchy lifestyle, or just makes me frugal...or just means I have a little extra time on my hands. I consider it part of my job. You see, I do not bring in a paycheck. But by staying home with the kids I figure I save us many hundreds of dollars a month in would-be childcare which is almost as good as earning cash. Not to mention keeping the house clean (mostly) and cooking the food. I say spending the time to hunt down, match up and cut out coupons can count as the money I would be bringing in if I was working.

As far as cooking is concerned you know my thoughts on fad-diets. So no, I am not organic, vegetarian or gluten free. I don't insist on eating raw and my family has not "gone paleo." I am not against these things in any way, and who knows, I may even adopt one or all of them someday. Just not until they at the very least, are no longer a fad (ok, so the no 'poo thing could be under the "fad" title. But not hardly to the same extent). I simply cannot jump on the bandwagon just because every other mom is doing it. Remember back when everyone was jumping on the Atkins train? And they were all swearing "they just felt better and they were losing so much weight!" and then people started having heart-attacks and would gain huge amounts of weight back the moment they stepped foot off the train? Yeah, no thank you. I will wait and watch, then I will give you my answer.

I do, however make all my own bread. I make 2 loaves every 3 or so days, stick one in the breadbox and one in the freezer and it is from that we make sandwiches and toast and everything else you need bread for (Assuming you have not gone gluten free that is...) I make my own sandwich rolls and hamburger buns (assuming you are not vegetarian...) I make bagels for my husband to eat for breakfast every morning and they are REALLY good. Especially with a little butter right out of the oven. Trust me on this one! My general rule of cooking is: If it can be made from scratch and all it takes is a little more time, I make it from scratch. I do not buy boxed/canned much - much to my box-top collecting daughters despair "mom! We need to buy more junk-food so we have more box-tops!" I like my family, and me, to eat as healthy as we can. Minus the chocolate chip cookies...

I am a work-out fanatic, I love it. Not sure that makes me crunchy though - or even hippie. Just weird according to some. I love being sore, knowing I worked myself. Knowing I burned extra calories, knowing I gained muscle. I love knowing that I am getting stronger, and a good work-out followed by a hot shower and a nice cotton dress? So comfy!

I do jar my own jam and veggies - not as much as I want to but some. Jam anyone?

I use vinegar as a cleaning agent in order to avoid harsh chemicals around my kids. Love it when the kitchen floor has that fresh pickle smell!

Funny, I read this back and I feel like all of a sudden there really is not as much "hippie" things in my life as I thought. Adding "I wear flow-y skirts a lot" to the list just seems like I am over-doing it. I suppose I do not really fit the whole:

"Hi, my name is Rain. I have my own kiln, and my dress is made out of wheat."

(a homemade loaf of bread to the first that can name that quote!) Ok, maybe I do a little...

I feel a little as if the list of things I want to do is bigger then the one I actually do.

I want to own chickens, but my City does not allow it.
I want to make my own soap and laundry detergent - just haven't gotten around to it.
I want to do more canning, more of my own "grow in the garden" veggies. I want to learn to make pickles.
I want to figure out a way to safely ride my bike places with kids in tow. The streets around my house are not bike friendly sadly.
I want to make my own clothes...I even have the sewing machine and some fabric, just have not had the time/motivation yet.

Oh me, my brain just stopped working! Perhaps I shall add to my list later.

As for right now - may your bread be fresh, your bagels full of holes and your gardens large and covered in glistening drops of rain!

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