Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

A very mild, sweet, and simple Christmas this year. The kids got a few gifts... all of which they love, and we made treats for neighbors and family. We had a laid back Christmas Eve party with my family. It was wonderful. Today we are hanging out and watching videos and eating popcorn and left over sugar cookies... Don is working. Just a simple, quiet, and very perfect day.

The chickens though! They have been giving us Christmas gifts all week... every day this week we have gotten 4 - 6 eggs. For the last three days we have gotten six a day. Which means two dark brown, two green, and two light brown. One from each of my sweet girls. :)

Beautiful aren't they?

What is even more beautiful is that it is snowing right now. I have lived here 27 out of 29 years of my life and I remember one white Christmas... and today, it is snowing. So beautiful!

Just reveling in the simple beauties around me today.

Much love and a Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gosh... lots of deep thoughts this month

It is a month for deep thoughts I guess. Or for reflections. The new year is coming. In two days the earth will have come to her very darkest, and started the year a new. The kids and I will celebrate with candles and popcorn and probably a long talk and some mindless entertainment.

I too, am starting this new year of the earth; with a commitment. A few actually. I am not sure how they are going to pan out. I don't have a very good support system in which to back these things right now. It is not that Don doesn't support me, he just has a very hard time living with in means that make it seem possible for us to do things like think globally, buy locally, and not buy on credit. He wants and loves the gadgets. And rightly so. He deserves the gadgets. In a way... just as much as any good, hard working, public servant does. I am trying to find a way to get down to the brass tacks of what we want to do with our money and help him not feel deprived. We used to be good at that. When we REALLY had no money, those things come easy. But two years of tons of stress and doubling our income made the creature comforts seem easy to obtain, and more than a little necessary. How does one go about making it so the creature comforts of life are once again small, simple affairs?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Heartbreak

I am a little bit heartbroken at this moment. My friend Tawnya lost her battle with cancer. She is a huge part of the two online groups I am part of... Her son Ben (the little one) was due the same week as Logan and we talked on our expecting board the whole time we were pregnant. Shared belly pictures. The group of us that were pg last winter were pretty tight. She had to have him very early due to finding her cancer was back last Nov, and I prayed that it would be a simple something... It wasn't. She fought so hard. They found it then in her knee. And then slowly, it started to take over. I have never seen a stronger fighter. She was so amazing. She did everything for these three boys. Her sweet boys.... oh god.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Compacting, credit cutting, and random thoughts

So I am ready. Ready to completely cut out credit from our consumer diet. It will mean that for a while I will be completely anal. And that is sort of ok with me. We have a lot of consumer debt that we accrued since Don went into college in 2002, and sometimes it is hard to see it all. But we are coming to a place where we have a lot of what we need, we have enough money each month to put a little back now.... by my standards, I mean.

I was thinking of doing "Not Buying It" for a while... but that won't work. I will be getting things for the kids rooms to organize their spaces. I will be getting things to stream line the things that I am doing in the house, and I will be getting things for the garden come February next year. So Compacting it is.

I am less than half way through Omnivore's Dilemma and I am ready to buy local beef. Chicken is harder... they cost more to produce. I know. I have 6 laying hens out there, that are only double the age for first culling and that means that since last February we would have only had 12 birds for the food and space and time it has taken to raise these chicks. That would be spendy if I was to sell that. But beef and pork, I can do local. I also want to get a whole share of the CSA farm this year. If they recover from the flood that is, which I have every hope that they will. They have a drop off point right next to the Library so I can even make it a double trip each week next spring. That will work out nicely. I am already itching to garden... December through Feb is hard for me... maybe time to build some cold frames?

I may give the farm my chickens. They lost their 4 hens and rooster during the flood. Another friend is giving them a rooster from their same stock... I would like to give them the laying hens. We don't have the room or the time for them right now. I keep feeling like I am neglecting them. And the money. Yikes... the tarp I bought for the coop is already breaking, meaning I have cold wet birds quite often this time of year. I put our old shower curtain over it... but if you are going to have chickens in the city, you really need to put some money behind it and build a nice coop. No one wants to see an old dog kennel converted into a innercity chicken coop... plus, I can't keep it from not smelling. But I love those birds, and the eggs they give us from their healthy outdoor lives, and lovely kitchen scrap diets... so I don't know what to do. Maybe one months worth of debt paying can go to building a new coop. I just don't know. Maybe I will just give them two or something.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Deep Thoughts and a great site

My friend Lauren sent me this link a little while ago for food for thought... and wow! It really got my brain working. I decided that more people had to see it... so I am posting it here. Enjoy!

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

I hate computer stuff. Blech......

How long is that going to go on? Before we have to keep up with stuff, just because they are necessary to life? Because right now, we have the bottom of the line computer. We are moving up to a newerish computer because ours isn't really doing what we want it to anymore. And so I am down with getting that. I am. But when will we choose what we have and what will become obsolete? How long will this computer last? 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? And when we get rid of it, what will we be upgrading to? BETA to VHS to DVD and now what? And these things are necessary for "life" in our country.

Now, I am not talking about the things that are extra.... the Barbie clothes and the newest toys or the newest skinny heal shoes. I am talking about things used to communicate... and if you don't have them you don't communicate with everyone because their mode of communication has already past you and you are no longer 'convenient' to communicate with... so you drop off their radar. Not on purpose... but just because you haven't evolved.

Omg... what a terrifying prospect... and so now I am getting the new computer.

I don't care about shoes, or anything... those cycles I can stop. I can stop buying my kids thousands of $$ worth of Christmas crap from stores like Walmart. I can stop buying at the dollar store and keep buying at Goodwill. (But hell, even that is being exploited now.) But what about that other stuff? What is going to be done about that? And what else are they going to introduce that we have to maintain like the computers that are obsolete within two years of spending WAY too much money on them. What else are they going to invent that is going to change the way we live so drastically that if you don't have one you are "left behind".

Where is this all leading? (When will my husband think about this?!!?)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Amazing...

The force of this flood is still humbling me. Behind this picture is my friends farm. This is her refridgeration container, on top of this car. This is what we drove by on Friday when we went out to help. Isn't that just staggering?


We drove out there for a friends party yesterday. The roads are clear. The street sweepers are working overtime to get the rest of the rural areas clean... but the roads are all passable now. Thank god. My friends are slowly digging out. They look so tired. They have been pulling off walls and counters and cuboards, and hucking them into the yard... where the rest of the mud is. They have heaters drying things out and windows and fans open, trying to stop the mold from setting in. They are amazing people.

The love that surrounds that area right now is just incredible. Groups of people that they have never met are mucking mud out of the yard and green houses. The love is incredible. I am humbled and at the same time very honored to be part of this group of people. It is a beautiful thing to watch a life be rebuilt and to see the love that it takes.

Today it is snowing hard again. We have about an inch already this morning and it started around 9am. It doesn't have the thrill that it did two weeks ago. But, man, the world is beautiful white and covered in ice. Let us hope that there is no more devistation because of this beauty.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Flood

Most of the damage was about 20 miles south of me (we live off Exit 101 now), where we used to live. Our old aparments off Exit 81 were underwater until the second story. The freeway that takes you South on this side of the country has been closed for 20 miles between exit 88 and exit 68 all week long. Last week, we got 3 inches of snow where we are. There was just a dusting in the valley. But in the mountains, they got 14inches. The next day, here, it all melted. The temp got up to 52*. In the mountains, it kept snowing. The day after that, here it hit 61*... in the mountains, everything melted... and headed down hill. A 30* jump in less than three days. Just amazing.

It has been a most humbling week for us out here. Here are some pictures of the damage:
This is Exit 79. The exit to my parents old house... this bridge is over I-5... the biggest freeway on this side of the country.

This is one exit down... next to his new house, which is up on the hill to the rt.

(He is fine and dry.)

This is the area between the two towns down there. Yes... that to the right is a roof awning of the local Sunbirds.

We have friends who have lost houses, farms, animals... and we are lucky. Some people lost their whole lives. Our dear friends organic CSA farm was a total lost. My friends and their new baby got out safe and sound, thank god. A farm next to theirs lost 30 cattle. Another farm close to their lost over 100, and these poor beasts are floating all over the valley. They have no idea when they will have clean water, many wells are contaminated with sewage from the overflowing septics.

Our favorite mexican restruant is that little orange building.

The road outside the local shopping center.

This is the freeway. Doesn't look like it, but it is the main interstate... under this water. Just amazing!

More of the freeway.

The power of this devastation is incredible. Let us pray that hope prevails.