Dear Gentle Reader,

Wow! I think the post on this blog explains how my thining of myself, and hiring a personal trainer, has changed. I am definately motivated by what kind of old lady I will be (plus not wanting to feel like crap now because I am too out of shape). Here here to all the FASTTs!

Is sixty the new thirty? I had a sad realisation the other day: my parents, who both turned 60 this year, are physically fitter than me. I run, I go to the gym (occasionally) yet I couldn't keep up with them on an hour-long bike ride. I am 25, I have three and a half decades on them. They should be slowing down, donning the slippers and doing nothing more … Read More

via Sally Newall


Dear Gentle Reader,

This may seem silly or stupid, but this is something that has been going on in my life the last few months.  You may be aware that DD is sixteen and wants to have a career in fashion design.  For her, this means that she is very concerned about what she wears, her hair and makeup

Since I am the mom, and I happen to be a girly girl, it has fallen to me to take DD shopping, to the hairdresser, to Sephora, etc.  DD didn’t really know how to apply makeup correctly, so we had a little family Mary Kay party.  We have watched (and discussed) countless miscellaneous Youtube, Makeup Geek, and Michele Phan videos on makeup techniques.  We had the hairdresser wax her eyebrows for the first time.  We purchased pumps (she’s super short).  We coordinated her wardrobe.  We got rid of all of the stained T-shirts from the past few years and repaced them with a few new, non-stained ones.  And so on. 

I have actually had a good time.  I have enjoyed spending this time with DD.  Though, from my perspective, a lot of this has been humerous.  (Very serious for her.  Don’t Laugh!)

I used to wear makeup all of the time.  That is until my life was over-run with stress from graduate school, living and working in San Diego, being layed off in San Diego (2X), and my husband’s continuing illness.  But, now that we have moved to KC and are living with family, my life is not so stressful any more.  I feel better about myself and my life, and I feel like doing some of those things again. 

So, I started wearing makeup again.  And you know what happened between then and now?  I got WRINKLES!  Where did those come from?  I mean, I’m only almost 50….

Actually, I don’t mind the wrinkles themselves.  But I do mind the makeup going into them.  It looks hideous.  Now I am on a quest for makeup that doesn’t go into my wrinkles (and pores) and also does not give me zits.  It’s not too nice having flesh and/or brightly colored lines and dots on your face.

I have recently learned that HD makeup (High-Definition) is THE thing these days.  I guess if your TV is HD, your face had better be too, so you can look good on it.  HD makeup looks lovely, just like on a professional model.  But, it containes a lot of silicones to seal up and fill your pores and lines.  Sort of like spackle.  In fact, certain kinds of HD makeup (like HD primer) is called spackle.  Bet you never thought to spackle your face so you would look good in photos.

For some people, this may be great.  But for me, every time I try it I have at least 10 little white zits by the end of the day.   I don’t really want to do this more than one day, needless to say.  (I don’t think one should have to endure hot flashes and zits at the same time.)   I have tried several organic products, but they often contain essential oils, especially rosemary and mint, to which I am allergic.  Next, I am trying TARTE’s silicone-free primer and a mineral foundation made by Pink Quartz Minerals (the owner makes it in her kitchen and sells it on Etsy).  I hope that it goes well, so I can quit worrying about this.  Lord knows there a plenty of better things to do with my time.  (Why the ?&*# am I doing this anyway?  I think my brain might be stuck.)

DH thinks all of this is rather humerous (which it is).  Also, he thinks this is because I am almost 50.  I don’t really think so, since I feel great.  But maybe a little bit.  Or maybe it’s just fun to be a girly girl again.

Dear Gentle Reader,

I still haven’t been in the garden too much.  We have fluctuated between too hot and not too hot, and on the days when it has been not too hot I have had too many other things that I had to do instead.  For example, the last several weekends have been taken up with (not in any particular order) taking my 16-year old DD shopping for new school clothes, supplies and Lord knows what else, clearing out all of our furniture and “stuff” from our self-storage unit, moving the furniture and stuff to our basement and/or my office, cleaning out and organizing the basement (this has taken several weekends and we are still not done), getting my car fixed, starting a fitness program with a personal trainer, grocery shopping and cooking when my DH is ill, and who knows what else.   The basement was full of about three families-worth of stuff, so our stuff wan’t going down there until a lot came out.  It was so full, you could hardly squeeze yourself between and/or around the stacks of boxes.  We got rid of so much furniture and all, that the neighbors across the street probably thought we were moving out.  But then we brought in more furniture.  So… were we moving in?  They have lived in that house only a few weeks, so it must have been confusing to watch.

Quite honestly, with so much going on in my life, I haven’t really felt like getting out there in the back yard, even though it might have been one of those not too hot days.

In any case, here are some good things that I have been doing:

I started working with a personal trainer.  It was either do this or get my stomach stapled.  Since I am not partial to re-routed plumbing, I went the trainer route.  It has been a month, and I have seen some important improvements.  For example, I can walk a really long way, my back is much better, my knees are better, my arms are stronger, and my clothes are not too tight.  I’m feeling like I won’t end up being a decrepit old lady who drives her family crazy with complaining (if I keep this good work up). 

Since we have cleaned out the basement, I have had room to set up my “sewing room,” which consists of a couple of tables and several sewing machines.  I still have a lot of work on that, but pretty soon I will be able to get back to sewing.  This is good because DD plans to go into fashion, and is taking a class in basic textiles and design this year.  She hasn’t needed the sewing machine yet, but she might in the next few weeks.

I am trying to figure out a routine so that I can do most of the cooking and shopping.  My DH is often ill and unable to do this, even through he is at home.  I recently picked up a book on freezer cooking, and am trying out the recipes.  The first thing I tried was chicken enchiladas, and boy were they good (easy too).  Of course, DD didn’t like them, which is usual with her.  It often seems that she has decided that it is her job to not like almost anything that I cook.  And if she happens to like what ever it is for a while, at some point she will decide that she doesn’t like it any more.  What a pain.  Well, that’s too bad for her.  She’s going to have to eat what I put on the table or be hungry.  This weekend, I want to make the chicken enchiladas again and put a couple of batches in the freezer.  And I will pick out a second recipe to taste (don’t want to make a 6X batch, only to find that we don’t like it).

There are a few things that I do want to get done in the garden this Fall.

  1. Clean out the garden on the side of the garage, but down a biodegradable weed block and mulch. 
  2. Hack back the jungle of weeds in the back half of the yard.
  3. Plant shallots.
  4. Mulch the veggie gardens.

This Fall and Winter, I hope to make fermented pickles, can LOTS of applesauce, get back to sourdough baking, do a little sewing, and even a little knitting, go to the gym at least 4-times a week, and hopefully get back to Zumba.  Also, I want to get myself and my family into a regular routine.  Summer was fun, but time to get back at it.

And that’s about it.  If you happen to have some good freezer recipes, please send them on.  It would be great to try them out.

I hope that all is well with you!

This past weekend, we took a little trip to Mansfield, MO.  It was a great trip.  We left KC in the morning, and arrived in the early afternoon.

First, we visited the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Click HERE to see their web site.  I forgot to take photos, except of family.  So, you only get this one.

We didn’t know what kind of lizard it was.  But he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Any way, we really found the house interesting.  This was where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books, and she lived there for about 40 years, until she died.

I really didn’t know very much about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I just remembered reading Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prarie.  Also, any one growing up in the 70’s watchd Little House on the Prarie, with Melissa Gilbert.

The house was very odd, because it was build one room at a time.  Apparently, the first year they were there, they lived in a one-room log cabin that was already on their farm.  The next year, they added a room, which was a kitchen.  The log cabin isn’t there any more.  Anyway, the year after that, they moved the kitchen to a new site (on skids) and added an additional room. They kept adding rooms, over time, as they got the money to do so.   It took them 17 years to build the house.  The house was very solid.  The wood was very thick, at least on the banisters and wall trim.   It was interesting that all of the utilities, like the hot water heater, gas lines, etc. were all out in the open.  For instance, the hot water heater was in a corner of the bathroom.  I guess, since they didn’t originally have a hot water heater, that was how things were done.  It was sort of like visiting Hurst Mansion in CA, where they had naked electric light bulbs out every where.  Just not what we are used to these days.

One thing that really caught my attention was how tiny Laura was.  She was only about 4′ 7″.  You could see that because everything was very low (for us), because it was built to fit her.  For example, she had a baking station that didn’t even come up to my hip.

After that, we were so tired we went to our hotel.  Sunday, we went to the Spring Planting Festival, at Baker Creek Seed.  I’ll report on that later.

I turned 48 on Saturday.   Where has the time gone?!  And when am I going to start feeling like a grownup anyway? 

Rain on the Red Bud Tree


It was a very rainy day.  

Water Shooting Out of Neighbor's Gutter


It was a quiet day that I mostly spent reading a book and contemplating how I want the next part of my life to be, what kind of old lady I want to grow into.  In a way, it seems like the mother of all New Year’s resolutions.  I’d like to be an active and vibrant old lady who’s around for a good long while.  So, first things first…get active and fit again, at least reasonably so.  You can’t be the grand dame when you can’t get around and do anything you want to do.  It’s a great way to be prepared for what ever comes along over the coming years.  Second, keep my mind active.  That’s not too difficult since I read so much, and my work and hobbies demand mental gymnastics and creativity.  Third, make new friends.  I’m not so good at this, since I am a real home-body.  But, I’m going to figure out some ways to do this.  Maybe go back to church, join a garden club, or volunteer.  Since I read so darn much, joining a book club might be a good option.  I’m not sure yet.  It will take some effort.  But I know having friends as you get older, and making new ones as you go along, is really important.  

So, while I’m thinking about this, I’m going to get myself to the gym in the evenings.  I have been going (from time to time) and walking for 30 or 40 minutes.  I think it is time to step up the pace.  

Work in the garden and preserving the harvest are picking up.  

And this weekend, my family and I are going to take a short trip to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in Springfield MO and to attend the first day of the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival.

I’s been working on taxes.  In a few days, I will have an update with photos, a discussion of straw mulch (or not).  In the mean time, I have been watering, weeding, seeding a bald patch of what should be grass, etc., etc., etc.  How about you?

Hi There!  This is my first post on my first blog.  I have always had a secret wish to be a farmer, homesteader, or some such.  Instead, I became a biochemist and patent agent.  Since I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream, I am doing it on a small-scale, in my backyard.  I plan to use this blog as a journal of my activities, including gardening, canning, baking, preparedness, and the like.  Let’s hope that it turns out well.