Monday, May 31, 2010

Life Is Complicated

That is, doing what I do - procurement.  Acquiring things is one of the main jobs of a homemaker.  As a self-proclaimed tree hugger and social justice advocate, it's a difficult job.  I want to make the most of our income by purchasing goods as cheaply as possible but at the same time, I know the true cost of many of those items.  Oftentimes, the products that I should buy are the most expensive.  But it's the cheap, foreign produced items that really come with a huge cost, not to my and my family, but to the earth and to people in other parts of the world, people I will never meet.  We typically don't see the social and environmental costs as we're sheltered in our small part of the world.  However, many items are raised and produced in deplorable conditions.  Toxic and polluting methods are used and actual slave labor is required to cheaply bring many items to markets in the western world.  Many times I'm tempted (and often give in) to the less expensive product because it will make my money go further.  But then I realize the unseen costs involved and I feel guilty and go back to purchasing the products that I know are the best value overall.  It's a hard balance.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Look

This afternoon I decided to be brave and change the look and layout of my blog.  I stepped outside my comfort zone by decided to not stick with the templates provided by Blogger.   It was a learning experience as I learned a bit more about laying out blogs and even had to edit the HTML.  Please let me know what you think of the new look.

Quote for the Day

"Be curious, not judgmental."

~Walt Whitman 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Satisfying Work

Today I put in a few hours of work for a worthy cause - the Humane Society.  Our local shelter held a fundraising yard sale to raise money to build a new facility.  Our current facility is very small and cramped.  Often, animals are euthanized due to lack of space.  However, this situation will change as the new facility will be a "no kill" shelter.  The local director and board believe that the larger facility, coupled with community education and the inexpensive spay/neuter clinic will ensure that no animal have to be needlessly euthanized.  The yard sale was successful in two ways - much needed funds were raised for the new facility and less fortunate individuals were able to buy items they could not have otherwise afforded.  One woman I spoke with was thrilled that towards the end of the sale, we were clearing everything out for $1 for all you can carry.  She said she was able to buy some nice blouses for church, something she desperately needed.  However, she wasn't going to pay the $1 asking price; she wanted to make a donation to the new shelter and said she was giving $5.  The widow's mite...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Funny - But Not

Saw this on Jay Parkinson's blog:

"BP wants Twitter to shut down a fake BP account that is mocking the oil company.  In response, Twitter wants BP to shut down the oil leak that's ruining the ocean."

~Jimmy Fallon, Late Night

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Purging

I just finished a complete purge of my wardrobe and a partial purge of my books.  With my clothes, I tried to be ruthless (although I know I left in some items I'll eventually donate).  If I knew I didn't wear it in a past season and don't see myself wearing it this summer or fall, it's gone.  In the fall I'll have to do some more purging of those items that I found I didn't wear or aren't flattering or comfortable. Of course, this is an ongoing process, but I plan on being more selective with future purchases so purging won't be so arduous.  Regular readers know that I participated in "Not a Cent for Lent," which really opened my eyes to wasteful spending.

The book purge is going to be a bit more difficult as my husband and I are both avid readers.  I started with my novels and decided anything that I've read, I don't plan on re-reading, and I know my hubby won't read had to go.  Luckily, our local Humane Society is having a yard sale this weekend so I donated several boxes of books to that cause.  They're mainly good books (only one old textbook on religion), so most of them should sell.

I'm slowing working on one room of my house at a time, as per The Grand Plan.  This week it was the living room and I spent an entire morning dusting, vacuuming, and getting the embedded cat hair out of the sofas!  Next week I'll conquer the dining room.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


We've had a lot of drama around the house lately.  I have a house cat, Dixie, who has lived with us for about 11 years; she has always been in the house and was our very first pet after we had the children.  Dixie is a spoiled cat as she is allowed on all the furniture and sleeps with me.  

Then we have Ginny, my black lab whom I often refer to as my sidekick.  Ginny was supposed to be an outside dog but a number of years ago she injured her paw and had to have stitches.  Because we had snow on the ground at the time, I had to bring her into the house until she healed.  Over the years, she's been allowed in the house more and more.  At first, she was allowed in for a brief visit in the evenings; then when it rained.  She refuses to go in the garage, her dog house, the barn, or any of the numerous shelters on our farm, so she was so pitiful standing in the rain that I had to start letting her in the house.  Then I decided she needed to sleep in the house when it's very cold or rainy.  Now Ginny's pretty much in the house on a regular basis.  

Since she's a regular member of the household, I made a small bed for Ginny to sleep on.  Recently, I replaced that bed with one I bought plus put another one in my bedroom for when she's in overnight.  Enter the drama.  Dixie, who as I said is not only allowed on all the furniture, is allowed to sleep in my bed; the dog is not.  However, the cat has decided to take possession of both the beds, mainly when the dog comes in the house.  Sometimes I can almost see the wheels in her head turning when I let Ginny in the house.  Dixie might be across the room when I go to open the door for the dog, but by the time the Ginny is in the house, Dixie is in the dog bed.  Ginny would love to attack the cat, but she knows we frown on that kind of behavior, so she lets Dixie intimidate her.  This past weekend, we got home a bit late and I found the cat in the dog bed in our bedroom.  I swear Dixie knew that Ginny would be going to bed soon and wanted to make sure the dog didn't have a place to sleep.  Oh, the drama of it all...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Past Weekend and the Week Ahead

This past weekend was good but busy.  I attended a jewelry party given by a friend who is trying to support of friend of her's in her fledgling business.  I'm not a big direct sales/home parties person but I was glad to show support and enjoyed the company.  Saturday was spent at a mission expo/celebration put on by the local district of the Methodist church.  I had a table to represent Danita's Children and made a few contacts that I hope will be of benefit to the orphanage.  If my time led to just one child being sponsored, then it was worth it.  The celebration included a concert by the contemporary Christian/crossover band Mercy Me.  When I bought the tickets, I didn't think I was familiar with the group but I recognized the majority of their songs.  They put on a great show.  Sunday was church and then afterwards we had a great visit with friends who live about 1 1/2 hours away.  By the time we got home, the day was over.

Today I've been busy working on my To Do list.  Although it doesn't feel like I've gotten much done, I've crossed off a number of items.  One of my main chores was to get out my summer clothes and sort through everything, paring down my wardrobe to things I actually wear.  A few items I've been holding on to for sentimental reasons but realized how silly that is.  So I have several bags of clothes to donate.

The highlight of my day was talking on the phone to someone I consider to be a living saint.  Brenda is a missionary at Danita's Children and has the kindest, sweetest spirit of anyone I've ever known.  I'm honored that she considers me a friend and takes time out of her busy schedule to keep in touch with me.  

This week I had planned on taking a break but my calendar has filled with odds and ends - errands and chores to be done.  Living where we live, taking care of any business means driving at least an hour plus the time it takes to do the actual errand, which takes a chunk out of the day.  I'm also working on what a friend calls a "purge," getting rid of all the superfluous stuff that has accumulated in my life.   (I told my daughter I was purging and she thought I was announcing that I was bulimic!)  I'm trying to keep in mind a favorite quote of mine, by William Morris, as I attend to this project:  “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quote for the Day

"The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love."

~William Slone Coffin

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Can You Trust?

This afternoon I was having a conversation with my son (who, by the way, is a wealth of information).  The topic turned to the Energy Star program, which I've used as a guide when purchasing appliances.  Turns out, it can't be trusted.  Earlier this year the Government Accountability Office's Forensic Audits and Special Investigations team investigated the approval process and found it severely lacking.  Go herehere and here to read more.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Room of Her Own

Today I'm busy getting ready for an exciting change at my house - I'm finally going to get my own room!  For several years I've read, worked, studied, crafted, and exercised in the family rooms of our homes, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of every day life.  When the kids were little, that was good as I needed to be available for them.  When the kids got older, I tried to carve out a space for myself.  For a while I attempted to work in our basement; however, I never liked it down there as it's not a finished basement and I found it dark, dreary, and uninspiring.   But since my children are 18 and 20, and don't technically live at home any more, I realized how silly it was for them to have an entire "living room" to themselves when they still have their own bedrooms.  So, next month, I'm going to officially take possession of the room over the garage.  It's a fully furnished sunny, spacious room that I've always loved but never used.  I can finally have all my things together and can actually leave out projects that I'm working on.  Maybe I'll get back into my yoga practice, too...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting My Act Together

It has been a crazy few months, what with all the snow and cold weather, the farm emergencies, having my college age children move back home for the summer, and my completing two classes towards my masters degree.  As a result, my housekeeping and ideals have suffered.  Now that most of the urgent things are behind me, I'm working on getting my house in order.  

Between The Fly Lady and the Holiday GrandPlan Yahoo group, I'm working on getting my house clean and organized from top to bottom.  I spent a good amount of time today in our basement, just getting rid of things that are no longer useful or are broken.  I joke that it was all causing bad karma; but really, I do know that all things have energy and all that excess energy was getting to me.

Another area I want to work on is making some of my own cleaners and cosmetics again.  I try to use nontoxic cleaners and natural care products and I already use a lot of baking soda and vinegar, but I need to go beyond that.  Some homemade products are super easy and easy on the health of people and the environment.  Having participated in the "Not a Cent for Lent" challenge, I started using up a lot of toiletries and cleaning products around the house and have become more aware of the actual cost in dollars as well.  So I've pulled out a couple of my trusty books and will start making things as I run out.  My two favorites are:  Earthy Bodies & Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi for natural personal care products and Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan for nontoxic cleaners.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What's At Stake

This past weekend hubby and I had the opportunity to spend some time on my beloved Gulf of Mexico.  His firm has an annual retreat on Longboat Key and we always look forward to soaking in the natural beauty of the Gulf.  This past weekend, however, was marred by the thought of the oil disaster off the coast of Louisiana.  From the moment I set eyes on the Gulf, I was in love, despite the fact that I grew up on the beach in Southern California.  The Gulf holds a special place in my heart and I always feel a thrill when I see it.  Now there is the potential that the Gulf will be spoiled for decades - even centuries - to come.  Right now, barrels and barrels of oil are spilling into the Gulf, with no end in sight.  What will happen if BP and all the other involved interests cannot stop this disaster?  Think about the shell fish, the fish, the pelicans, sandpipers, gulls, manatees, dolphins, and countless other sea life that will be destroyed.  Hopefully, the leak will be plugged and the worst disaster to face the U.S. will be stopped.  Maybe, because of this wakeup call,  we will rethink the "drill, baby, drill" mentality and look to alternative, renewable, clean energy sources.  And maybe, now with the oil companies' credibility destroyed and the cruel reality of our insatiable desire for energy revealed,  we will rethink our priorities.   I'm hoping so for the world's sake.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Believe those who are seeking truth.  Doubt those who find it."

~Andre Gide

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Little Bit Late

This past February, Lisa of Retro Housewife Goes Green kindly awarded me with the Sunshine Blog Award.  I'm sorry and embarrassed that it has taken me so long to acknowledge her gesture.  I'm supposed to pass it on to 12 other bloggers but because it has been so long and because Lisa passed the award on to some of the same people I would select, I'm taking a pass on it this time.  But thank you so much Lisa for thinking of me!

R.I.P. Layla

Another sad morning on White Flint Farm as we had to euthanize one of our goats.  Layla had been down for over a week and, while initially improving, she showed no signs of healing.  There were several problems that we could not overcome - she couldn't stand, she was pregnant, she had difficulty eating, and she had some neurological damage.  Yesterday I saw signs that she was going to go into labor soon but this morning nothing had changed.  Late this morning I did an exam and determined that she had been in labor all along but just didn't have enough strength to deliver the stillborn baby.   

Farm life is hard - it has joys and sorrows.  The worst part for me is the animal deaths; I'll never get used to it.  I see my animals as individuals - they each have their own special personality.   Layla was a very shy but extremely sweet and gentle goat.  Earlier this year she had an upper respiratory infection that I treated and we bonded over that.  She will be greatly missed.

Although we lost Layla, we did gain Prudence, Rhiannon's baby.  The circle of life continues on White Flint.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Goat Update

Yesterday I learned that my diagnostic skills, as far as goat doctoring is concerned, leave something to be desired.  I realized I needed to have the vet come out to give the horse his annual vaccinations, so decided to have her come out as soon as possible to have her check my sick goat, Layla, as well.  Good news - turns out the goat does not have listeriosis but probably has an infection in her jaw which has left her weak and unable to walk.  More good news is that, although I had a completely wrong diagnosis, I have been giving her the appropriate dose of penicillin.  We're still not out of the woods as we still have a very ill goat on our hands.

We had another goat event last night.  Rhiannon gave birth to a pretty baby girl, Prudence.  Rhiannon was carrying twins but the other kid was still born.  This morning, mother and baby seemed well and happy.  I'll try to get some photos on the blog.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quote for the Day

“Do every act of your life as if it were your last.” 

~Marcus Aurelius

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Week Condensed

May has been a whirlwind.  Several months ago I had the idea that our church could raise funds for a medical mission trip to Haiti by holding a yard sale.  The response was overwhelming; people seemed to bring in items by the truck load!  We finally held the yard sale last weekend and it was extremely successful.  Several wonderful volunteers spent two days helping me pull off this event - some of us even spent the night at the church so we could be up and working by 5:15 a.m. on the day of the sale.  It was worth it - we raised $2,600!  In addition to raising money for the trip, we helped our less fortunate neighbors by selling much needed clothing and baby items at extremely discounted prices.  Unfortunately, due to building safety concerns at the orphanage, the medical mission trip has been postponed indefinitely.  The orphanage had to close two unsafe buildings and now have no place to house volunteers until they build their own earthquake safe housing.  Hopefully, that will happen within the next year and our awesome nursing team will be able to go next summer.

We have more animal concerns on the farm.  We recently lost both of our roosters and one of our hens.  We've determined that they were killed by the coyote that my son and I saw in our front yard last week.  My sidekick and farm dog, Ginny, now knows that she's supposed to chase off the coyote so we're hoping we won't lose any more chickens.

The goat problems from this winter seem to be continuing.  One of the goats whom I nursed through an upper respiratory infection is seriously ill.  My hubby found Layla down in the pasture this past Friday.  After researching her symptoms, I've determined it's listeriosis, a bacterial infection that affects the brain stem.  I'm working hard to nurse her back to health but her prognosis isn't good.  I would love to call in the vet every time I have a sick goat but that isn't practical when you have a large herd.  

I'm wrapping up my last class of the semester, Human Growth and Development.  I've completed all my assignments and just need to put the finishing touches on my research paper.  Just think, I'm 1/5 the way through my masters degree!