Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jenny Put the Kettle On

So we're starting to run out of things. Today marks the six month anniversary of our buy-nothing year. Now I store food and goods, so it generally takes a good while for me to run out of staples. But we're down to only four beers (Eric is grieved), I'm out of my favorite kinds of tea, I'm starting to get reminders that my magazine subscriptions are running out (no more Nation!) and various other minor shortages are arising. So I think not buying things is going to get harder for the second half of the year. Which is good, because in a way it has been too easy. I did find a very pleasant surprise this morning - a box of Constant Comment tea in the back of my storage. Guess what I'm drinking now? That orange peel scent is inspiring.

The one big challenge facing me is that I have to be best person in a friend's wedding in April, and I don't have anything suitable. So I'm going to canvas my friends' wardrobes and dig around to see what I can come up with. The problem is that most of my female friends are *short* - and I'm 6'. But I'll come up with something - maybe a guy friend will loan me a suit that I can tart up a little. My friend is very sweet - she said just pick something you like.

Several people have asked about the new kitchen and how we're enjoying it. The answer is that we aren't yet. We're still under construction, and Bill, our socialist heating guy who is supposed to install the new cookstove, and swore up and down he was free all of January seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. So while the cookstove is a lovely looking piece of equipment, I have no actual experience with it yet, other than to admire it and set things on it.

The kitchen renovation should be over in the next week or two. The cistern pump won't be up until spring, because we didn't get started until after the ground froze. The new composting toilets should be done shortly (for those who come to visit me who read this, don't panic, we're still keeping the guest potty ;-)), and it will be nice to have a permanent set-up there.

The kitchen will not be entirely non-electric. We left the electric stove in temporarily, although the goal is to convert eventually to propane. But the fridge is out - we have one in the little kitchen in the addition, but we're debating turning that off too, and keeping only the freezer. We'd use reusable ice packs and a couple of coolers in place of a fridge. It would cut back on our energy usage and emissions, but allow us to keep the much-more-essential freezer going. One of these days, I want one of those sunfrost freezers, but unless the book hits Oprah's list, that ain't gonna happen ;-).

But there will be a space on the counter to permanently mount my grain grinder, and places to hang my cast-iron pans. The staples will all live in glass mason jars and there will be a spot for the dogs to nap in front of the cookstove. I'm excited.

Seeds and plants are mostly on order, and I've got to call the Alpine goat breeder near us soon, to see if she'll have any does in late April (after we return from said wedding). There are geese going on the poultry order form, as well as (hurray!) chickens for my Mom and Susie (And
I'm trying to sneak some Polish hens on the order for myself and my sister, whose new house is going to need chickens. Eric questions the utility of chickens that aren't great layers and can't see where they are going. But I'm sure they serve some purpose, other than being cute). The old garage is going to be turned into a barn, and the side yard will be drained and fenced for goats. I've got to get on this milk thing - time to practice my cheese making.

And in a fit of total madness, I ordered a potted dwarf olive tree to live in my house. Anyone know how to take care of one?

Well, that's all the news around here. Anyone want to tell theirs? You can pull up a chair, put your feet on my woodstove (it isn't even warm so you might as well) and I'll make you a cup of constant comment.



Shaunta said...

I live in Las Vegas and we have a ton of olive trees everywhere, mostly because they are fast growing. They are also highly allergenic (the city doesn't allow them to be planted anymore.) I can't imagine having one in my house, it's bad enough having them in the neighborhood. I wonder if the kind you are getting is different from the ones we have here? If your eyes start's the olive tree!

Your kitchen sounds amazing, and I'm so impressed with your year-of-not-buying-anything.

RAS said...

Thanks for the Constant Comment. My favorite tea. :)
Let's see, what's going on here at Stony Hill Farm? Not much right now. It's not even a farm really. It's just my current little plot of land. I call it Stony Hill because it's mostly on a Hill and due to all the rocks -which I've dug out of my flower and vegetable beds by hand!
Anyway, I'm in graduate school and working part time to make ends meet. These two activities take up most of my time.
I had a minor emergency a week or two back with one of my animals -my Siamese cat developed an intestinal blockage; that was quite a vet bill, but she's worth it!
But I imagine you were more interested in gardening/farming type news. All of my seeds have arrived, I've planned the garden out, and I am getting ready to start some early spring seedlings. My new blackberry and raspberry bushes are going to ship out in about two weeks, and my potato sets will follow a week later. I expect that they will all arrive at once, while I am studying for midterms.

I am hoping to get caught up on the housework enough (ha!) to take some time out and learn to knit before spring gets here and everything swings into action.

This fall or next spring I hope to add some more animals to my little family -either chickens or rabbits, depending on what the ordinances here are.

That's all that is going on at my place. Pretty much the usual routine. Oh, and I am still dateless. I don't suppose you know where a homesteading, graduate student, liberal, leftist, lesbian geek could find a date? (That's just a joke, for those who don't interpret internet humor well.)

Oh and Shaunta, Not everyone is allergic to olive trees. :)


Amy said...

My seeds are here, I'm almost ready to start seedlings and I'm just plugging along until the weather gets better so I can build more garden beds. I should break out the spinning wheel and get some yarn done. I'll have to re-teach myself how to use it.

I'm reading "The Worst Hard Time" now.

jewishfarmer said...

RAS, are you totally committed to the lesbian thing ;-)? Because my friend Jesse is a leftist, liberal geek who is starting to do urban homesteading and is a climate change activist. But he is, unfortunately for this purpose, a guy, and a big hairy one at that
;-). But you wouldn't be his first lesbian girlfriend (to be fair the last one didn't know yet - but when she finally came out, most of us responded with "duh."
;-). (BTW, this is totally intended as a joke, no offense intended).

I'm afraid I don't know any women who meet your criteria, though. Too bad - I'd love to have you date one of my friends and then I'd get to meet you!


Capt. Harold Arndt said...

Ahoy Sharon,

I've been following your blogging site for some time now and enjoy it a lot. I like your thoughts and words. I expressed a lot of my thoughts (relative to my work)and relative to your writings in a very long e-mail which I sent to two e-mail addresses, which I found for you, back on January 19th. Since I have not had an answer from you I have assumed that my e-mail to you, or your answer to me, got caught up in cyber space somewhere/somehow. With all these Spam filters and "protection programs", it is a wonder that the system works at all anymore. Since your blog for yesterday (Wednesday) opened the door for general comments, I have taken this opportunity to re-write a short introduction and ask that you send a short respond to my e-mail address at: since I have several thoughts that I would like to share with you in a one-on-one exchange. Incidentally, if others, who read your blog, wish to visit the Island Rover Foundation web site at:
and they find our mission and work of interest I would welcome e-mail messages.

Some of my seeds arrived a few days ago, the spring garlic bulbs are in the refrigerator being "conditioned", pumpkin and squash seeds have dried and are ready for spring planting, the small seed potatoes are starting to show signs of wanting to sprout, and I LOVE the feeling of warmth that the sun is starting to put forth at the height of the day as wood is moved from the wood shed down the shoot to the wood furnace in the cellar. On this 1st. day of February, with January behind us, we can really say that SPRING is not long away. It has been cold here in Maine for the last couple of weeks BUT winter has NOT BEEN LIKE it would have been in years past.

Looking forward to hearing from you at:
Cap'n Harold

RAS said...

Sharon, lol. I'm afraid so. I don't look like the stereotypical lesbian (I'm more than a bit femme) but it was so obvious that I was the last one to figure it out, if you know what I mean!

Alantex said...

Re: allergy to olive trees.

Are you certain that the proscribed olive trees to which you believe yourself to allergic are not really "Russian olive" (Elaeagnus angustifolia)? This invasive plant which is not native to the western hemisphere has become a pest in the western U.S. I can more readily believe a city banning it than true olives.

Russian olive does produce an edible fruit, a sweet, mealy berry It grows readily in some of the driest parts of the West (like Las Vegas), as well as in abundance along watercourses.

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