Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sunshine, Sprouting and Some Shifting of Habits


I LOVE the sun! See those three sinkholes on the left of the photo? Yeah, that was me lol...at this time of year the snow is still really deep but not solid enough to keep me from plunging down. I'm taking full advantage of the sun today because the forecast is now 5 inches of snow tomorrow overnight to Saturday. I'm going to spend the weekend mostly reading, speaking of that...


I downloaded these two books this morning. Thanks to Yarrow and Sam I Am for the suggestion. I've been having such a hard time this winter and I think reading these books on making life cozy at home will do me some good! One of my goals in life is comfort and making our lifestyle as cozy as possible - especially while renting because we can't do anything we want with our rental, but I can make it cozy and peaceful to be in. I'm looking forward to reading through these, although they are digital version, which I usually don't like, I'll make the effort!


You guys are going to think that all Alex and I eat is pizza lol...It's true we do love the stuff! We had one of the frozen bacon and cheese pizzas for lunch yesterday, delicious! (Sorry for the ooey gooey cheese photos again Kymber) 😋


This is Mr. Snowy, he's my winter porch decoration. He's smiling because he's thrilled that it's going to snow tomorrow...I had to burst his bubble. It's time for him to retire for the season! I made him last November from some pallets that our lumber yard gave us. He is now housed in the storage room in the basement, I hope he's still smiling! :)


This morning I re-painted my Tweety Bird and Sir Dusty Buttons - buttons dusty no more! At least for now!! They needed a tuneup. Tomorrow I'll put a gloss paint over them so they'll be all ready to guard my new garden when the weather gets better! For now, they're keeping an eye out on the basil growing on the window sill. :)


With all of the lousy products out there, Alex and I have decided that we are going to slowly make a shift in our habits with regards to buying products; by that I mean, we are going to invest rather than buy for the best price. See these nice flannel sheets? We bought these at a reputable store, The Linen Chest. They were regular price $90 for the set and we saw them on sale 60% off so we took advantage and bought 3 sets of them...I can't believe they sell these for $90 to begin with because we got these at the end of January and already two of the pillow cases are torn and one of the sheets...it's so terrible. 

Anyway, we weren't always in a position to buy based on quality vs. price, and I know how hard it is to get by, a lot of folks just don't have that choice. We still live paycheck to paycheck what with paying back debt, saving for a down payment and just living the lifestyle we enjoy. For our first few years together, we had major car, pet and moving expenses and basically we were broke. 


Here's one example, all we could afford were dollar-store cutting boards. I don't know what you're experience is, but our experience is that they last a month - if that. Alex even tried sanding and curing them, but the knife marks go right through them and you can really smell the leftover onion and garlic on them, despite using baking soda and lemon to clean them. And the splinters...okay, I could go on and on, it's just one example. This photo is from a local craftsman's workshop. He makes all of these breadboards and pizza peels from cherry and maple wood. He guarantees them for 20 years if you follow his instructions on care. We're going to go to his workshop next week and invest some big bucks in buying a large and a small cutting board. I think from now on, we're going to keep this philosophy whenever we can afford it. I used to cringe at the words "locally made" and "locally grown" simply because I just didn't have the money...now we will opt for these things as we can afford them, and do without until that time because I'm sick of wasting money on crap. What about you all out there? What are your experiences? Are they as discouraging as mine? What's your philosophy on product purchasing? We both wish we had better skills to make more of our own things.


Do you sprout?  My fellow Canadian friend Dianna suggested a company called Mumm's to me a few days back as her go-to seed sprouting supply store. I've never sprouted before, but have been getting more and more interested as the quality of the lettuce in winter declines. I'd love to hear about every and any experience with home sprouting because I unfortunately fell upon an alarmist news article about the frequency of salmonella in sprout seeds...anyway, since I don't know much about it, I'd like to hear the good and the bad from people who actually have done or do sprout now! If you've written a post(s) about sprouting, please include the link(s) for me, I need to be more educated (and please never even think of a lengthy comment as being too long, I love them long!). I don't want to have a pre-judgment based on one article, but it does linger in my mind unfortunately. Anxiety anyone? Lol...okay, I'm still working on it!


And last but not least, a no-shame photo of Oscar suntanning, using Jack as his foot rest!

33 comments:

Harry Flashman said...

I'm surprised you still have all that snow, even that far North. I think the cold weather is finally over here in North Georgia. I see people out tilling their gardens so it must be getting time to plant.

Your place looks pretty nice to me.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I don't like and won't use wooden cutting boards, no matter how expensive they are. I just don't think you can ever truly get them clean. I use only heavy plastic boards that can be put in the dishwasher.

Share my Garden said...

When I buy things I expect them to be fit for purpose and to last regardless of whether they were inexpensive or otherwise. (War baby, waste not want not, blah blah, that's me!) Your poor quality bedding would really annoy me, what a swizz. Are you able to take some of it back for a refund?

Share my Garden said...

Forgot to say I just love the photo of Jack and Oscar.

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) If you travel just an hour south on the highway, they don't have much left, it's the mountain climate here that's to blame for the snow. Alex said this morning "we have long winters here" and it's true. Even other areas of the Laurentians aren't as snowy as this little valley. Thanks for your comment! :)

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) I know what you mean about not thinking you can get them clean, but I guess I feel that way about the plastic ones! :)

Rain said...

Hi Rosemary :)) I also have an expectation of quality! But I've been sorely disappointed..and honestly I've only really noticed that big difference around Christmas time. What I call the "flannel sheet saga" is a story of its own...we ordered them January 4th. After having to return them TWICE....first time because the fitted sheet was a twin in a queen package; second time they sent the wrong product...and about 18 phone calls later, they actually sent us the right order and we used them for the first time January 30th! As for the return...they made a mistake and in February I got the same order by mail, with a thank you for my patience. Now I don't know if it was a gift or a mistake...but I choose to believe it was a gift so I kept them as compensation. But they ripped too lol...it's all garbage!!! I have to get back to sewing again so I can get some good quality fabric!

Nicole Thomas said...

Wow girl...whats up with all that snow and cold. We have been in the doyble digits for a week and our snow is almost gone. I remember u being snow free and warm when we are still sitting in the blizzards. Hooe it will stop soon!!!
Those books look VERY interesting. Let me know how u like them I might have to download them as well.
I dont know what it is...maybe i am just lucky but I have very rarely had bad experiences with quality. We try ... as much as possible to buy local or in thrift stores. If something brakes ... so is it. I like to change the look of things .. so my linen and such dont have to last forever ... wverythibg gets well used here with the house full of kids and animals.
Your pizza makes me drool !!!
I hope Mr snowy has it cozy in the basement :)
Sir dusty buttons and the birdy look all fresh and shiny :)
I love my wooden cutting bords. I have one that i only use for onions and garlic one for veggies and one for meat. I scrub them down and love them again :) the ones in the picture look beautiful.
Lok at those two little sun lovers 🌞💜

Susan said...

I totally agree with you on the shocking lack of quality of just about everything! I got a really nice flannel shirt and the pocket almost came off in the wash, first time! Good gad. I made the decision to do without until I could afford something handmade and local. When it comes to my kitchen, I tend to pull out all the stops. After all, I spend a lot of time in there! Too bad those sheets were so poorly made - the pattern is great. I like to call March, Farch, because winter just won't be a good sport and let go. I cannot wait to get outside and dig something! Light those candles!!!! :)

Rain said...

I don't know Nik, was it really like this last winter? I can't remember, but I certainly don't think the snow storms lasted this long...I'm embracing it though, I'm on the porch typing this reply :)

Those cutting boards do look nice don't they? I can't wait to see what he has in his workshop, his wife weaves too so she will have some goodies to sell. I'm going to do the same as you, one will be dedicated (an old one) to only garlic and onions. The new ones will be for meat and veggies. We'd love to get a cheese board and a new pizza peel, but we don't have the money for all that, we'll make do with the ones we have for now! But I'm sick of my bread smelling like garlic after I put it on the bread board to cut it lol...

Rain said...

Hi Susan, it is a shock isn't it? I'm not surprised to hear about your shirt. We bought some socks before Christmas and they all have holes in them now...it's such a decline, I remember when socks used to last more than 4 months lol...

Farch is trying to defeat me, but I'm trying my best to ignore it! :) I'm out on the porch, bundled up in blankets about to read about Hygge!

Dawn McHugh said...

I love the look of those cutting boards but I think it will be a long long time before I replace mine, I have a granite one, heavy and solid and a lovely wooden board for bread a fiend bought us for our anniversary. We buy very little these days and always try to make it ourselves or add it to a family gift list, when we do need something e always try to go local.
You were asking about sprouting I often sprout seeds through the winter, never had any illness, its mentioned on my blog a few times http://doingitforourselfs.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/helping-out-friend.html http://doingitforourselfs.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/super-fast-seeds.html

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i agree..cheap does not last long! i broke down several years ago and bought extremely expensive egyptian cotton sheets. they are heavenly and still look as new as the day i got them. seriously, every time i crawl into bed i groan at how wonderful they are. i never get used to them. i used to grow sprouts in a jar and they were great.

Rain said...

Hi Dawn :) Granite sounds wonderful, but I don't think we're there yet. I'm hoping we really do get some quality cutting boards next week, we're going to treat them with kid gloves. And thank you for the links, I'm headed right over to read.

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) I love your description of the sheets lol...actually those flannel ones are really amazingly soft, but my gosh they wear fast. The first rip was a week into using the second set. I admit we do wash them often, but always on the delicate cycle. Even if I washed them every day for a month, I'd still expect them to hold up!!! Oh well, at least we have the extras and I have my sewing machine for repairs! Thanks for mentioning the sprouts! :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Investing as a philosophy in purchasing is a very wise move. I have seldom regretted paying more for quality as the item almost inevitably lasts longer and gives better service.

Leigh said...

Oh my goodness, that last photo is priceless!

I can so relate to everything you're saying regarding finances and struggling to get by. That is so much of the reason why we try to grow as much of our own food as possible, and have tried to simplify our life as much as possible. I think not having much money helps you learn to value things more and be more thoughtful in what you buy.

I'm really interested in the books you mention at the beginning of the post. It sounds like a wonderful concept.

Tammie Lee said...

I think it is wonderful that you are focusing on buying quality items. I like to do the same. I also enjoy waiting for the right treasure instead of going out and buying just anything. In fact today I found a wonderful chair. I have needed one for years ;-)

I use to sprout. Maybe it is time to do it again. It is fall through the snow season here as well. It is not fun, kind of jolting, especially because we don't know what step it will happen with.

Wishing you a lovely weekend reading.

Rain said...

I know what you mean, and I know we won't regret it. Before this year though, we just couldn't imagine paying that much for a cutting board because that money was too useful elsewhere. I can't wait to see his products though.

Rain said...

Thanks Leigh :) Alex and I simplified gradually since 2014 and we're still headed in that direction. I've found that this year though, my motivation is much higher, I think it's the garden plans that did it! :) I love anything cozy! I read through the first book and discovered I'm already doing most of the things suggested!

Rain said...

Hi Tammie Lee :) Every step I take is hesitant at first, then if I don't plunge through, I can take another lol...if there wasn't so much snow, it would be safer but a few weeks back I actually got hip deep in the snow and had to roll out on my side, survival skills lol :) Have a great weekend!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hi Rain! Chiming in late to the party :) We had our first puppy class last night so it was a busy late afternoon and evening! I am tired today and I wasn't the pupil! :)

I am sorry you are having more weather. But your Alex is right - our winters are long and are getting longer. Bah. I am trying to send you our weather but it seems like it is taking its sweet time finding you!

I try to pay for quality but sometimes being fiscally responsible trumps everything! Things are getting more expensive and the quality is just not there. I remember I could buy a complete sheet set for our bed and it being no more than $30. Now for a queen size set its anywhere from $60 upwards. Um. No, I think not! I have to budget all the time.

Your books that you downloaded look interesting! My son and I took a trip to Yellowknife in January to chase northern lights (there were none the whole week we were there, cloudy and snowy!) and the guesthouse we stayed in - that was his goal and boy did he ever reach it. What a delightful place! So cosy, softly lit and comfortable both with the house and their company. It was perfect. I would stay there again if we do go back. I think wherever you lay your hat you make it as cosy and comfortable as you can.

The whole reason behind me starting to sprout was exactly what you wrote about...the dangers of store bought sprouts. With home sprouting I have never have gotten ill from it. But I would be hesitant about buying any sprouts from stores nowadays. The quality control in my kitchen is far better than any large manufacturing giant! :) And that being said - I have to write to a company yesterday and make a complaint. I bought some prepackaged red leaf lettuce (my fave) as I was pressed for time this week with the advertising promise of all nice and washed an ready for consumption. Imagine my surprise when I pulled the lettuce out of the pack to find not only dead bugs but ALIVE bugs. GROSS. I immediately washed all the leaves over and over again getting more irritated by the minute. So I sent the company off an email and within an hour I had a response. They were apologetic and are sending me.....coupons! :) I thought of you immediately when I read that. I also attached a picture of said bugs.

That picture is so incredibly cute!!! Love it when they use the dogs as springboards or foot stools! :)

Have a happy Friday!
Dianna

Lisa said...

Came upon your blog a few weeks ago and love it! Speaking of the long winters and the associated blues that go along with them (have those too), I used to love reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a child, and I found that if I took out my old copy of "The Long Winter" to read on those winters when they never seemed to end, I felt better :) Maybe reading about a family housebound by snow and blizzards for nearly 6 months, made my winter not feel so bad :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :))
I hope your puppy school is going well! I remember it was just as exhausting for us as it was for Charlie lol...well, as I type this, the snow hasn't started yet, but we're prepared....lost of candles, comfort food, movies and books are on the menu this weekend :)

I know what you mean about being fiscally responsible. We had to go out today because Alex had a meeting and we stopped by a kitchen supply store that we hadn't noticed before and ended up buying a fondue pot. It was 40% off, amazing quality and will last us well into old age, but still...now we have to rework things a little bit and maybe cut out some extras...it kind of sucks, but you know what? I'm so happy about the purchase and I'm willing to wait for quality now, unless it's urgent of course!

I already did go through the Hygge book and I mentioned that I realized I'm already doing most of what they suggest! I really do love my comfort, and I just need to figure out a few more things to help me next winter, I want to appreciate the seasons more (including winter!!!) :) I still have to read the Cozy book. I really envy that you went to Yellowknife, but my gosh what a shame you didn't see the Northern Lights!!!! That's something on my bucket list and I get shivers just imagining seeing that in person.

OH MY GOSH....I would have lost it if I found some fun little live bugs in my food order....ICKY ICKY ICKY. We have to be so careful!!! But you got coupons lol...it only makes up for part of the ickiness I guess lol...good for you though. I think I prefer to EXPECT low quality now so when I get good quality, I'm elated.

Thanks for the information about the sprouting. I read through the whole Mumm's site and they look very reputable though the article I was talking about mentioned Mumm's having a salmonella scare in 2012 in their sunflower seeds. I verified in on the Food Inspection Agency site. I know that no company is perfect and Mumm's has an amazing reputation, but you know, my anxiety took over and I got a little nervous reading about that...especially after my bout of food poisoning in February!!

Rain said...

Hi Lisa!! :) Thank you! :) I saw that you followed me and tried to see if you had a blog too, but I didn't see one, if you do, please give me the link! :) I used to LOVE Little House on the Prairie!! But I never read any of her books. I think that this tv series is one that I'd like to watch again, to get my mind into the pioneer spirit and maybe, like you, make my life seem luxurious in comparison lol. SIX months housebound...really Lisa, I think I'd go cookoo lol...I should look for her books though.

Lisa said...

No blog of my own - maybe when I retire next year! Just an avid blog reader!

Rain said...

:) Well, I look forward to it! :)

kymber said...

Rain - i must have missed this post! we sprout all year round as sprouts in the winter can really make an impact on getting healthy greens. and then having sprouts in soups, salads, sandwiches throughout the whole year is wonderful and so good for us. we stocked up on a pile of different kinds of sprouts from Mumms and we are very happy with the quality. however, we have also started saving seeds from our radishes, kale, brassicas, etc. and then we'll be sprouting our own seeds - woohoo!

if you are interested i did a post here about sprouting:

https://framboisemanor.blogspot.ca/2012/03/sprouts-sprouts-everywhere.html

sending love. your friend,
kymber

Rain said...

Hi Kymber :)) I just read your sprouting post...what a treat to have that sprouter you guys found. I'm going with the Mason jar approach! I'm waiting on my Mumms order this week actually, it's going to be a fun experiment! That's great that you are saving seeds, that's another thing I have to learn about!

kymber said...

Rain - there's gajillions of people out there who sprout using mason jars...it seems pretty easy. go ahead and start up some sprouts! xox

Rain said...

I can't wait to start Kymber...the estimate arrival is the 13th of the seeds I got from Mumms. I'm starting slow, just alfalfa and they have a "spring mix". If I like the results, I can see sprouts being a big part of our diet!!! :))

kymber said...

the spring mix is delicious! and of course so is alfalfa!!!

Rain said...

Kymber, I can't wait to get my package!!