autumn days

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little House in the Big Woods (my little homesteader)

We've been having many suburban homestead adventures in the last week.  I finally asked for help and took advantage of four hours of child care to pull a couple garbage cans full of weeds (they'll slowly go into the yard debris bin).  This reprieve from motherhood gave me enough energy and balance to tackle many projects.  With a bit of renewed mental peace (my body is still exhausted), I was able to share some control of various tasks and let my just-turned-four daughter Hannah step in.  Many young children's "helpful tasks" aren't necessarily helpful, but this little girl now makes my domestic endeavors so much easier and more enjoyable.  It is refreshing to include her into activities, to see her feel good about her efforts, and to have her company.  We hope to spend a lot more time together on various homestead adventures.  Along with this small list of accomplishments, we've just finished our first chapter book together, Little House in the Big Woods.  Yes, this is the beginning of new shared joys.

I prepared the toppings and Hannah put everything together for our pizza dinner.

We picked apples from a neighborhood tree,.

Hannah and Paul pulled a wagon of apples all the way home (with a little help).

She put pears on the dining room table to ripen and carried and washed the apples for me to cut.

Tiny apples and apple cuttings became delicious apple cider (thanks to Paul's family).

As she started to get a cold, Hannah helped me wash, cut, and assemble ingredients for chicken noodle soup.

At the end of the gardening season, she pulled apart garlic cloves for planting.

She's planting five garlic cloves per square foot for overwintering.

We picked two zucchinis and then washed them in the rain water collecting in the kiddie pool.

Hannah is so proud of her zucchinis and excited about turning them into zucchini bread.
She planted these in June and they're finally ready for summer (in September).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

battle of the junk mail

We all get plenty of junk mail.  I've been thinking a lot recently about the waste of resources and how to put an end to much of it.  The junk mail had been collecting in a pile on the counter for a couple weeks, but when I couldn't stand the stress of anticipating calling all those businesses to ask them to send no more (as suggested here), I tucked it all into the cupboard to deal with later.

Ideally, I'd like to call all the businesses and let them know I'd like to help them save time and money (and paper) by removing me from their mailing list.  Realistically, I am distracted with other tasks.  And I am feeling like the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz when it comes to calling strangers to ask them to do something unusual for me.  While I wait for the gumption and energy to call some of the businesses, I have signed up with Direct Mail to be removed from lists.  This is a site that claims to decrease your mail without having to supply your social security number.  I've made one call so far, to the family vet a couple months after my beloved cat passed away (in their office, no less).  The rest of the mail waits patiently.  By admitting my snail's pace at tackling this growing pile of wasted paper, perhaps I will move a bit quicker to tackle it.

This photo makes the pile look much smaller than it seems to me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

no poo shampoo

I heard about No Poo Shampoo a couple months ago from a friend.  And then I heard about it again and again.  I finally found a simple and helpful recipe online for shampoo and conditioner recipes.  Easy.  Clean.  After trying my first home recipes, my hair was mostly happy but quickly drying out.  This recipe keeps my hair happy and soft.  And concocting these recipes in my own kitchen saves so much global energy and waste.

one tablespoon baking soda per one cup water in a pour bottle, shake before use

one tablespoon apple cider vinegar per one cup water, shake before use, less vinegar if hair too oily

10/2011 Update: I love this easier cleaner recipe!  I use a little more than one cup of shampoo and conditioner each time I wash my hair.  After swimming days, I soften it all up with a touch of store-purchased conditioner.  My daughter and I love the easy washing and our hair is doing great!