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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spare Time

Gail asked, "What do you do in your spare time, friend??"

Well, the things I do and enjoy so much are the things a lot of people consider work. If I find myself getting bored I work in my garden or flower bed. I look for things to can or preserve. I bake as much as I can. Hanging laundry on the line has got to be one of the most refreshing activities for me.

But if you mean hobby type stuff:

I love fishing. Our neighbor has a couple of ponds up the road and gave us permission to fish there. I might find the time to go fishing 2 or 3 times a year which is never enough for me.

I like to sew even though I'm not very good at it yet :)

My favorite of all activities is hiking. There is a lot of untouched land surrounding us. Not all of it belongs to us. But we have permission from all of our kind neighbors to hike, play in their creeks, picnic, hunt, etc. So we do. Once turkey season is over and we know the hunters are out of the woods, we will return to hiking again.

Another thing we do is feed the deer. Mike constructs his own hanging, timed deer feeders. We keep those filled with corn year round so the deer will always know the territory we want them to be in when hunting season comes around.

Every other weekend, I go with my mother to yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops searching for vintage linens to decorate the house with. I like old dishes, especially casserole dishes so I always have my eyes peeled for those and vintage cookbooks as well.

I love my animals. It is not at all abnormal around here to see me walking across the yard with one of my hens in my arms. They are the sweetest little things.

More than anything I love being a wife, mom and homemaker. It just doesn't feel like work or chores at all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's Growing at Thorn Wood?

I'm going to take this opportunity to update my readers on the things that are newly introduced and still growing around Thorn Wood. Last year, I shared pictures of a flower bed around the front porch that Mike built for me. It totals 300 square feet of planting area. When he completed it last year, he took me shopping for plants and flowers. I chose as many perennials as I could because I didn't want to have to work in this flower bed to the extent that it would take me away from the vegetable garden and my other chores.

This year, almost every perennial I planted sprouted out of the ground again.

The Dianthus which in our area is normally an annual, came popping up out of the earth with a proud display of blooms.

Thriving better than last year, these little flowers have filled out to become full mounds with dozens of blossoms on each.

The only work I did in the beds this year was planting one flat of Zinnias.

I also transplanted some Tiger Lilies from the back yard.

In the yard our 2 Cherry Trees we planted last year are still going strong. The Plum Tree we planted last year is full of little plums, sure to please our taste buds when harvest time rolls around.

This year we have added to our yard:

2 Winesap Apple Trees
1 Golden Delicious Apple Tree (with a few little apples forming)
2 Peach Trees (full of little immature peaches)
1 Weeping Willow
2 Butterfly Bushes

We turned and tilled an additional garden this year to increase the amount of space for planting vegetables.

We now have one garden in the front side yard where we have planted:

Contender Green Beans (I had great production out of these beans very late in the season last year so I thought I would stick with what works)
Silver Queen Corn
La Roma Tomatoes (for canning and stewing)
Better Boy Tomatoes (for sandwiches, frying sliced, etc.)
Rutgers Tomatoes (for sandwiches, frying sliced, etc.)
Rainbow Bell Peppers

In the back garden we have planted:

Yellow Crook Neck Squash
Zucchini Squash
Short Pickling Cucumbers (for pickling)
Long Slicing Cucumbers (for salads and pickling sliced)
More Rutgers Tomatoes (for sandwiches, frying sliced, etc.)
Sweet Million Tomatoes (for salads)
Sweet Georgia Onions
Spring Onions
Garlic Chives
Yukon Gold Potatoes

I also purchased a few additional herbs to create another herb bed.

They are:
Onion Chives
Lemon Thyme
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

I am still searching for other herbs I want such as Peppermint, Chamomile, etc.

Now that is the list of things we've planted and I'm sure we shouldn't expect 100% success out of all. We will see what time, weather and hard work produces at the end of the season.

We still have 22 hens:

17 Black Australorp
2 Cinnamon Queens
1 Buff Orpington
1 Speckled Sussex
1 Rhode Island Red

All brown egg layers and excellent layers at that. We sell organic eggs here for $2.00 a dozen. No roosters in the hen house which gives us cleaner eggs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Changes in Diet

Today I'm going to just try to list the changes I have already gone through as far as my diet is concerned.

Since October I have not eaten any type of bread, buns, biscuits, cookies, cakes, crackers or pies. I also haven't eaten any type of pasta. I tried to eat wheat pasta as a substitute but I had the same allergic reactions to it as plain pasta. I removed cheddar cheese from my diet too.

I miss bread a lot, especially the biscuits. Pasta was a staple food in my diet. I wish there were a healthy alternative. Last night I was reading about Rice Pasta, which is a possible option for me. However, I would like to find others who have eaten it and get their opinions about the product.

I have to be honest here. My friend Gail commented on our picture that she could tell I have lost weight.

I am 4' 11" tall :) When you're finished chuckling at that height I'll tell you about my weight . . . . . . . . .


Okay, let's continue :)

In October when I started removing the things above from my diet, I weighed 115 pounds. That left me some room to lose weight without sacrificing my health. Within a month of removing those things from my diet, I lost 10 pounds. At that point my weight tapered off and I now weigh 105 pounds. I'll also note here that my mother, in an effort to lose weight started removing these same things from her diet. Her result was a weight loss of 20 pounds in one month.

I no longer spend every day of my life feeling bloated and sluggish. I feel more energetic and stronger than I did when I weighed just 10 pounds more and ate bread all the time.

I must confess, sacrificing bread, pasta and cake has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I bake a lot and take these cakes to friends and neighbors. As I hand them their dessert I am silently wishing I could take a seat and share the treat with them.

Some days, I feel an incurable hunger. I haven't figured out how to resolve that without feeling bloated and sluggish again. I guess it is possible that my body will adjust to these changes in time.

What am I eating more of? I eat a lot of salads. At least one meal a day is in its entirety, a salad. I can eat Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheeses in small portions without having any reactions, but rarely choose to do so. I eat my meats broiled or grilled for the most part. Batter and breading on meats (or anything for that matter) is a no-no for me. Rice. . .I eat a lot of rice. I make stir fries a lot more now and I see rice quickly becoming a substitute for pasta. But I still miss pasta. The only types of cereal I have found that I can eat are rice based, mostly Special K.

So basically my diet now consists of vegetables, grilled or broiled meats and rice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Picture of Mike and I

I just thought I'd share this picture of Mike and I. The last photo I shared on this blog was taken 2 years ago. This one was taken today by my son Curtis when we got home from the library.

Hope you're all doing well.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A New Beginning

Dear Friends,

As most of you have probably already noticed, almost everything from the last 2 years has been removed from the sidebar of my blog. I have also removed every post I wrote from day 1 of this blog until now, with the exception of the one post, "A Story Called. . . Thorn Wood."

I did this because I plan to make several changes in the way I was blogging before.

Here is a brief explanation:

A recent awareness of new health issues has required me to take better care of myself. The biggest area requiring a change in my lifestyle was my diet. I can no longer eat things like wheat, cheddar cheese, pasta, etc. Another thing that has required a change in our diet at home is my sausage and cheese loving husband's cholesterol level.

So as I find new recipes that are gluten free or lower in cholesterol and I try them here at home, I will in turn share them with you all.

I'm still gardening. Actually this season, we have 2 gardens. I will blog much more about that later. I'll also share my canning and preserving adventures and recipes with you all more this year than I did last year.

I also plan to sew my own dresses this season, providing I can find the time. If that happens for me, I'll share my successes and my mishaps (which should be plentiful) along the way.

What am I taking away from my blog?

Well, I think I'll be keeping more of my personal life, personal. Not so much that my readers aren't familiar with my family though. Those of you who have been readers for a while know that's not my style. When I say personal life, I mean a few things just won't be written here anymore. I will bring you all up to date soon on the house as well. When I left, we were in the middle of painting the home. There are 2 things I want to have completed on the house though, before I share new pictures. So for those who were asking about the house, please bear with me as I try to get those jobs done first.

I'll also be keeping my spiritual life to myself more. Not because I don't like sharing my Christianity but because at this point in my life I feel like this is something between me and the Lord. I'd just like to keep it that way until I feel like I'm being lead in a different direction.

I'm sure my blog will also move in directions other than healthy living, gardening, canning, preserving and sewing. It'll just take some time to get comfortable again to find out where it leads.

So as I start down this new path, I hope you'll join me, share with me, advise me when you can and support me along the way.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dear Friends

It has been a very long time since I have occupied my blog. I experienced a few things while blogging that made me uncomfortable for a while. Then after dealing with that and coming to the realization that I could prevent some of the problems I was having with comments from other users, I fell ill. I have gone to a few different physicians and finally have a diagnosis (which I prefer to keep to myself) but I am now on the road to healing.

I do want you all to know I have missed you. I have missed reading your blogs and watching your lives through your photography.

I am considering blogging here again.

My reason for this blog is to find out who - if anyone - may still have an interest in reading my blog. If you do, please leave a quick comment letting me know so I can make a decision about writing again.

Hope you're all doing well,
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