Looking deep

Looking Deep

One of the most important focuses of my life is my recovery.  I am an addict and my addiction of choice is gambling.   I am so grateful that I haven’t had to place a bet in a significant period of time.  2 years, 10 months, and one day. I won’t talk hours and minutes and all the details here.

For the uninitiated to addiction and recovery, one ALWAYS knows the exact date, time and circumstances of their last “escapade” or rather…escape from whatever pain plagues them at the time.  If you are active in your addiction of choice, then you are counting the hours til you can find your next fix or bet or drink or if your are addicted to prescription drugs and trying to live under the constraints of a medication agreement, then when you can take your next dose without affecting yourself too much til your next dose.  (I personally know someone on methadone who really has had to make a concentrated effort to take thier doses exactly as they are prescribed to not get sick).

If you are abstinent, and hopefully actuallly working a RECOVERY program, then you state your last date of activity in the addiction of issue with hopes of keeping it (not an easy feat for many) and as a measurement of time that you really could LIVE without doing it.~  Seriously, for those affliced it is that bad.  We don’t know that we can’t LIVE without doing what our addiction is.  We feel like life will end if we dont find a way.

AS I originally started this post with a comment that recovery is part of my daily life, today was my day of connection with others that know and understand my affliction.  Since I’ve come to live in the country and it is dark so early in the day, my days of meetings with like minded individuals occurs on Sundays.  It is a coming together with family: a connectedness,: a place of confession (it isn’t at all like going to a confessional, it’s more a sharing thing);  listening (yeah, if you are going to rant your own stuff that means you need to sit there and listen to EVERYONE else)..and for a single person…gettting and giving some hugs.  I personally had not had any physical interaction (talking face to face, eye to eye, physical) with another human in 4 days.

Fortunately, and uncomfortabely at times, this way of life, recovery, makes me have to look really really deep.  I have been in a place of mind and spirit that I have been really evaluating WHERE I am in life and in my recovery.  And so I was looking in the mirror.  And then I decided to have fun with it with the camara on my phone.  Because of the emotions I’ve been experiencing, my eyes are a color that only a few in life have seen.  If  my eyes are this color of green, then it means I am feeling whatever I am feeling…very deeply.

Feelings….that is another topic completely.  If you struggle with emotions, or addictions (which I believe to be a struggle with emotions), then I hope you  find something you can use here at some point in time.

Today, I decided I had to take off my “fake it til you make it” and state that I have had some personal pain and struggles.  I want my blog to be a place of growth for me and for others and so I share from my heart.  Not everyone can find a place of like-minded  people to share with.  You are welcome here.

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What to Blog on a rather dreary day?

I woke the first time at about 5:30am.  I don’t know why I awakened in the dark of the morning, but my first thought was how is the fire?  I hate to be cold!  I like my bedroom cool, but I don’t really want to get cold.  So when I opened the door to the main living area, I was happy  it was still warm.  I could see that wood was needed.  In fact, there weren’t even enough coals to start it back up without 2 sheets of newspaper.  Yes, I said 2 sheets.  When you don’t get a daily newspaper, and you have to be aware of the woodstove, you conserve newspaper!!!  I too remember the days of wadding up an entire section to get a fire started.

When fire is not your main heating source, you don’t even consider things like how much paper you have to start the fire.  Or how much kindling.  Or how much wood you have to burn.  Or how dry that wood is and is it hard or soft?  You wouldn’t have to consider it if all you do is turn a dial in addition to paying your electric bill.

For me, living in this funky little place I call home, fire is going to be very important in the coming months.  It is my ONLY heat source other than the propane cook stove and oven.  That propane would not last very long if I used it for heat.  There is only a small tank and it is for cooking.  More to be discussed on that in another post.

My wood for this year started out as a gift of approximately one full truck load of very dry mixed wood.  I was so grateful for that because I ended up using most of it while trying to obtain more wood.  I also got a small truckload of big pieces of cedar (very soft) that I bartered for.  I picked up a bookcase in my truck and delivered it to someones home and they let me load up my truck with some wood they had.  All it cost me was gas for a trip to town.  Some of it was very large and will need to be split, but I have added it to my dry wood and it has been working alright.

I have a couple friends who have had some woodworking projects going on, and they have given me boxes of pieces and bits and ends that I can use for starter!  I am grateful for that too.  It saves me quite a bit of wood as well as time and energy to not have to split up a bunch of wood for starter.

So back to the newspaper.  I am using up some of the last of my newspaper from my recent move.  I can’t believe it has been 2 months since I moved here.  I feel so at home in my new place.  I do still have the “Corner of Chaos”.  What is that, you ask?  It is the 8-10-12 boxes of stuff and projects that are in the corner that I haven’t unpacked yet.  It has become part of the decor!  🙂  I WILL attend to it, because I want that last little bit of space to blend with the rest of my ecclectic collection of what I call HOME.

So, you may recall from a posting a day or so ago that I had wood delivered and had been stacking it.  Unfortunately, I did not get what I paid for.  I am still hopeful and have tried discussing this with the man who sold it to me.  I ended up with 1 and 1/4 cords of wood.  I paid for 2 cords.  I am trusting that if what I paid for isn’t delivered that God has another plan.  That is how my life works today.  I do my part, which is conserving the newspapers I have, and trust that He will provide the wood I need later in the year.  For now, for today, I am warm.

 

Preparations for Winter

Foggy mornings prevail in this valley.  The last few days I have awakened to a misty fog that hangs out  right here in our own little microclimate.  It isn’t suoper dense nor is it low.  It is just there enough to block seeing the hilltops across the property.  It is an enjoyable fog in my perspective.  Not too wet, not too cold, not too dense.  Just gentle drifts of whiteness.  It lifts around noon, and there are the grey skies just above the fog.  But it did not rain today.

I had to order wood to be delivered.  This is the first time I have had to order and buy wood myself.  I bought it from a young man who is just getting started in the business.  We have had a few warnings on Craigslist regarding the less than honest ethics that go with buying wood in these parts.  So when I spoke with this man I was very clear.  I told him that I had been a business owner in the past and I knew how hard it was to get started.  I also told him I knew of at least one household (M & E, my landlords, which is how I will always refer to them) that was needing a couple cords of wood.  I told them if they were honest and did a good and honest job that I would tell EVERYONE about them.

The first cord that was scheduled for delivery I received a phone call saying they were running late..  I told them I appreciated the call and the information.  They delivered the first cord and I did not measure it.  It appeared to be nice dry Silver Madrone, which is what they had advertiesed.

The next day they came back with another cord.  This time I measured.  8X7.5X20 inches.  It looked about the same as the last delivery.  I told them it seemed a bit short, and they said they would make it good.  They talked to M&E about getting wood later in the week.  I called and said by my calculations they were off by at least 1/4 cord, possibly closer to 1/2 cord.  I said I would be stacking it this week to get a true measurement.  They told me they would honor whatever was missing.

So today, I got out there and started stacking.  This is my first time stacking wood all on my own.  I had helped my brother in the past, as well as helped with preparing wood and stacking it where I lived last year.  But this was my very first time of doing it on my own.  I have to say I am feeling pretty good about it.  My stacks are tight, stable, sturdy and just about the right height.  I worked about 3 hours to get three stacks done.  It was getting dark and the girls had already got themselves into the coop by the time I finished up.

Dwindling wood pile

Wood Stack

First time stacking wood! I think I did a darned good job! More to do tomorrow.

How much wood do you usually use in a burning season?  I had about 1/2 cord already and am hoping I can make these 2 cords last.  Time will tell for me.  I did make some good progress on my stacking today.    I will have to make sure to set some aside for another cord or so for late winter/eary spring.  Where I lived last year I was told we went through 3 1/2 cords.  I was home most the time, so I may end up needing another cord. I do have to say, the woodstove I have here is wonderful at putting out the heat.  I am sitting at my table, having my dinner of Cha Cha Chicken and White Bean Chili and the heat is so nice coming from the woodstove.  I’ve had to remind myself more than once to close the bedroom door so my room will be cool for sleeping!  I like sleeping with a window cracked and the room cool, and nice warm cozy blankets and quilts.

I am considering making a Quiche tonight.  I have plenty of eggs as well as some fresh zuchinni, spinach and of course…onions and garlic.  I even picked up some Swiss Cheese.  For now I am going to enjoy my dinner and relax for awhile.  And I do know that a long hot soak in the tub in in my future before the end of the evening.

I am including a picture of my Polish hen, Donna.  She is quite the eye catcher.  Everyone notices Donna with her pretty coloring and her Bouffant hairdo!!!

Donna and her Bouffant hair

Donna is such a eye catcher. Everyone notices Donna. But she just pecks around like all the rest the girls and really doesn’t make much fuss about her appearance. Kind of like me!!!!

Another Autumn day in Applegate

I could hear the rain off and on all night last night.  Did you catch that?  I was awake off and on all night last night.  So when I heard the ladies making a bit of a ruckus, I knew it was time to get up and get moving, at least enough to get them out of their coop.  I was happily surprised by 4 eggs first thing in the morning.  Typically they don’t deliver until later in the morning.  By the later morning there were 2 more.  That has been their average the last couple weeks.

I had salvaged an old huge zuchinni that was left by someone at the little market up the road to give to my hens.  I thought it might be a nice treat for them.  I cut it up into small pieces so they wouldn’t have to fight over it and everyone could have their own.  I went down and they all came running.  I started throwing out the pieces of zuchinni and they scrambled after them, and just as quickly turned around and came right back to me.  They were not the least bit interested in that zuchinni, and they were looking at me like they reallly thought I should have something for them. They were out of luck.  I had already given them all of my scraps from my cooking extravaganza yesterday.  I wonder if the dogs will come up and eat it or if I will have to rake it all up and haul it down to the sheep.  They aren’t so picky!!

I took a little ride down to the market and had a wonderful cup of Mulligatawny soup.  It was make with pork.  If you have never tried this curried Indian soup, I recommend you give it a try.  I had never had it before and will be searching out a recipe in the near future.  Or maybe the diner will give me their recipe.  That would be some nice sharing.

There are these trees that I pass frequently on my travels.  I have noticed them every time I’ve passed them in the last couple weeks.  Their coloring is beautiful.  I pulled over on the bike to take a picture.  By the time I took off my goggles, gloves and helmet and dug my phone out of my little bag, someone else was stopped and posing for a photo op in front of this tree.  My phone camara does not begin to do the color justice.  I hope you enjoy it anyhow.

Beautiful trees along the Applegate River.

 

I had run out of time and energy last night, so I still had the defrosted pumpkin to use up today.  I considered trying a new recipe, but in the end decided to use one I had used in the past with good success.  It is the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread on Allrecipes.  Here is a link.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/downeast-maine-pumpkin-bread/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=maine%20pumpkin&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page

I substituted lowfat plain organic yogurt for the buttermilk because that is what I had.  I also substituted sunflower seeds for the pumpkin seeds.  These all turned out great.  Some to share, some for now, and some to freeze for later.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread

I think tomorrow I am going to have to get busy with my firewood.  And I still have boxes to unpack.  There is always something, which is a good thing.  I like having things to do, that aren’t pressing at me, but keep me looking forward to staying busy.  Hope you enjoyed a cozy autumn day wherever you are.  I am grateful for the bounties in my cupboards and freezer.

Cooking Extravaganza…use up those veggies!

Sunday SANDWICH

I decided I needed to just stay home today and stay in my jammies.  It seemed like a really great idea.   I have been pushing myself lately and I have learned that if I don’t attend to some rest time I will pay the price.   And, I had some things in the fridge I wanted to used up.

I started my cooking with this great sandwich I had seen on Pinterest.  http://www.jamhands.net/2012/09/applicious-week-apple-bacon-cheddar.html.  This is such a yummy decadant over the top Sunday afternoon football type of sandwich!!!  I do not typically eat such gastronomical concoctions, but I had all the ingredients and it just sounded good.  I get bacon at Cartwright’s Meats in Grants Pass.  Apples were picked off the tree here.  Some local sourdough bread I got at the William’s Growers Market.   I didn’t need, nor would I have been able to eat, anything more.  The sandwich is plenty!!!  I also really liked Jam Hands website.  I will be visiting it again for certain.

I had roasted a whole chicken the other night and deboned it and made stock.  This was going to be the basis for my cooking today.  I wanted to make a chicken chili and a chicken and mushroom soup.

I found a recipe for chili on Allrecipes.  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cha-chas-white-chicken-chili/detail.aspx.  Cha Cha’s White Bean and Chicken Chili.  I did not have jalepeno peppers, but did have 3 bell peppers (red, green and yellow) that needed to be used.  So they were substituted in.  This is a SPICY chili.  Even without the Jalepeno’s.    Personally I don’t mind spicy, but if I make this again I will cut back on some of the pepper.  The spiciness overwhelms the mellow white beans.  But it is good and will be a nice heat help when we have cold rainy days through the next few months.  This is going in the freezer in small individual portions.

The next thing I found that I wanted to use was some mushrooms.  Then I found 2 carrots that looked lonely.  And a fennel bulb.  I started thinking and came up with a delicious NON CREAMY chicken and mushroom soup!!!

This is how it came together.

I sliced and diced 1/2 of a red onion.  I cut up the fennel bulb into small bite size pieces.  I cut the carrots into 1/4’s and then sliced, so they were small pieces.  I sauteed all of these in 2 tbspoon butter on medium heat.  I cooked them about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then I added 1 large clove garlic that had been finely diced.  I cooked them all together for another 2 minutes.

I then added another tablespoon of butter and threw in about 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.  I wasn’t careful with them.  I grabbed them and if some of them got broken that was fine.  Then I added my diced 2 cups of chicken and 4 cups of broth.  I decided a little bit of potato sounded good, and so I cut into small pieces about 6 small yukon golds.  They were small taters and Icut them into 12 pieces each.  I didn’t want them to have to cook too long since all the other roots were pretty much done.

1 teaspoon dill weed, 1 teaspoon parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1 chicken bouillon cube (sodium free), and the juice of a 1/3 of a lemon.  I cooked it about 20 minutes on a slow boil.

This was exactly what I wanted.  I wanted a chicken soup for if I got a cold.  I wanted a chicken soup that was mild.  I wanted to use the mushrooms.  The fennel really added a nice touch.  I am so happy how all the flavors melded into this really scrumptious delicate mushroom soup.  I will be sharing this with my immediate neighbors and asking for feedback.

Now it is after 9.  I have cleaned all the dishes.  The soups are cooling so I can put them in containers for the freezer.  I ate well through the day.  I don’t have any more vegetables that I am concerned will go to waste.

One last note:  I should have taken a picture.  I threw out the cooked chicken pieces(minus the bones) from making the stock and my girls went to town.  Almost viciously.  I don’t think I will give them chicken anything anymore.  It just seemed odd.

It was a good day.  I stayed in my jammies all day.  I didn’t see anyone.  I watched a movie in the late afternoon.  I cooked and ate great food.  There are many ways to be good to ourselves.  This was how I took care of me today.  What did you do to take care of you?

Old diaries

MY child is born

My eldest child turned 3o this last week.  30!!!! How does that happen?  I don’t feel that old.   Well, maybe my body does, but my mind certainly doesn’t.  I”m still learning life myself!

There was an entry date on 10/25/1982, which was my kids’ dad and my 2nd anniversary.  The next entry is on 11/8/1982!  The day after my son’s birth.  It starts out saying “WOW, you are finally here”.

I find it interesting that my handwriting is nice and neat and tidy.  Unhurried.

What a truly wonderful gift to me.  Writings of my hopes and fears from 30 years ago.  I wrote this for my son.  I think it is time to pass it on.

Do you have something special you’ve saved for a child to show how much you cared when they were born?  It is so easy rush through those moments.  We get so busy.  And for me, someone who has moved about 25 times since then, it is amazing that I still have this journal!  It is the moments in life.

Thanking God today for my love of writing, way back when.

Temperature drops, time to cozy up

I’ve had a few things going on this week to keep me occupied.  I had some social interactions.  I had my truck break down on Monday and it still wouldn’t work today after the nice man down the street (thank you Tom)changed the alternator for me.  I cleaned the main house on the property this week.  It is a big job for me.  I ordered 2 cords of firewood.  That meant I had to clean up an area where some old debris was so that I could put the woodpile where I wanted it.  Whew.

Tonight the temperature is to drop to 29.  It was chilly last night and I cooked myself a really nice dinner.  Today I roasted a chicken.

I’m wondering what all I will make out of that bird.  Some stock and a pot of soup will ward of the chill.  Maybe I will serve it with  Bacon Apple Cheddar Melts!  On Sourdough.  I saw them on Pinterest and they look so yummy.  Cooking seems like the thing to do when the temperature gets chilly.

Speaking of chickens, my girls received a nice compliment from a visiting neighbor.  She said “Well, they are just some real friendly chickens”.  Makes me smile.  They are such nice girls.  And they gave me 6 eggs today.  Good job ladies.