Monthly Archives: May 2012

They fought for you

Remembering the real reason for Memorial Day.

I fought for you video

In memory of my grandfather, LTC (Ret) J Callaway, who fought in WWII.

In memory of my own father, who refuses to be named a Veteran, because though he served, he was not sent to Vietnam like many of his contemporaries.

In memory of the many I’ve known who’ve served, who’ve fought, who’ve sacrificed for me and for you.

This Memorial Day, remember. And when you see the flag pass in the parade, stand. You aren’t standing for a country whose ideals you disagree with. You’re standing in honor of the men and women who fought and died so you could disagree, and still live, free.

Thank you to all who’ve served. God bless our troops.

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Remembering…
Thank you to all who serve and have served.

meat sale!! aaarrgggh!

Hamburger for $1.54, pork shoulder for $.99. My tiny freezer will be very full soon, and that doesn’t include the ice cream! Hopefully it will all fit nicely, if a little snugly. But the good news is that either way I will eat better in the coming months than I have for the last few: I had lived on chicken for way too long so the pork and beef are real treats.

Random thoughts

I’ve lived in some small spaces. They were ok, but for a time I wanted more space. I wanted room for the cookware that would allow me to take things to work, for clothes both for the weekend and the workweek, for the games to entertain with when people came over. Then there came a time when I didn’t need space for those things. I’d hit a different point in life. I’d had my career, my bigger house, my nice things. For awhile I enjoyed them, but then they started becoming annoyances. My friends wanted to go out together, not go to people’s homes. My job changed so I no longer needed to take food to work or several wardrobes. I’m happy with the changes. My life has turned around. Now I want less things, not more. But I want more of other things. More savings toward retirement, more outdoor activities, more free time. Still, a tiny house isn’t for me. I want safety and security, comfort and warmth. I want the freedom not only to do more of what I want (less maintaining and cleaning) but also to enjoy my indoor spaces completely and constantly.

For me, 400-500 sq ft seems adequate. I’m trying on about 500 sq ft for size now, and so far it’s working well. I’m using the space, not just filling it. Yet I don’t feel cramped and I haven’t needed to give up anything that I enjoy. For me it’s not about living in the smallest space possible, but using the space I have well. It’s about balance, not about either extreme.

Cooking big in a small house

I have always bought in bulk. If meat is on sale, the larger portions are cheapest. I cook some and freeze the rest, and eat cheaply and well as a result. But how can I do this without a stove, an oven, a full sized fridge? Last night pork shoulders were on sale. I ended up with 8-9 pounds of meat, and only an electric skillet and a 2 quart crockpot to cook it in. I cut it up, and between the two heat sources managed to cook everything but the bone. I’ll do that tomorrow night. I’ll freeze most of it, especially since I’m still between houses. But other than cutting my hand (a normal occurrence with me and a knife) it went well. It took a little more time, maybe, but was worth the effort.

 

What I am realizing as I move is that I’ve been hording food. In the freezer, in the fridge, in the pantry, if something is on sale, I buy it and store it there. That will have to end, but I will eat better with less waste.

Green cemetaries

This is a little off topic in a way, but it fits with the green living concept well, and actually sounds beautiful. I had never heard of this before, but I really like the idea. http://www.naturalburialground.com/

Apparently, there are several green cemeteries now in existence, but this is by far the best website I’ve seen. All natural, no harsh chemicals, and a beautiful wildlife preserve to be a part of. I like the idea of warm earth much better than cold vault, personally. Wild horses roaming over my resting place, wildflowers overhead… it seems so much nicer to me than the alternatives. How about you?

cooking in the small house

There isn’t room for a stove in the small house. Technically, the landlord or I could get in trouble because I don’t have one; apparently there is a rule in town that every house must have one. Yet I’ve been using the electric skillet, and it’s worked just fine. I will also use the crock pot as I settle in, and the toaster oven once it arrives there. The weird thing is I still have pots and pans, but no stove to use them on. And I wish I had a pot to cook soup in… it heats well in the electric skillet, but I want a deeper pot rather than just the shallow one to cook in. Still, the space that a stove would take isn’t worth it. I barely used the stove when I had it. I’ll probably still get a burner from Walmart. They’re less than $20.

junk

I’m frustrated today. I got rid of 55 more pounds of stuff (yeah!) but there is still so much stuff sitting around. I don’t want to move it, and I certainly don’t want to throw it away (I’d prefer to recycle). I’m not sure anyone else would really want most of it. I’m not even sure what some of it is.

And I only have one closet at the new house, so keeping it really isn’t an option. For now, it appears that the space a washer and dryer would take will be used for storage.

Sadly most of it is things that I will need if (when) I build or buy another house that needs repair/restoration, but can’t use in a rental.

Maybe there should be a rule that people have to move once every 2-3 years. Six years is way too long for me to fill a single space without considering the long term consequences.

House sizes

I was surprised last night to pace out my new house and find it might be smaller than I thought. It seems pretty big (too big in some rooms). If I did the math right last night, the house is about 400 sq ft. If I were to build a house that size I’d want more closet space, room for a full sized fridge (I think) and a stove top, and a garage for tools. I’d want a bathtub and no weird three foot deep and nine inch wide shelves behind the toilet. And I’d want a smaller living room. But I’ll experiment with the living room, and hopefully when I move again I’ll know just what size the kitchen/living room should be to be comfortable and useful.

I think I’ll be quite comfortable there. Most of what I have left-except my tools-will fit in the space just fine. Even the furniture. But in getting rid of things, I’ve changed my thinking-I’m not as interested in accumulating anymore. Sales and deals don’t hold my interest like they used to, and even my addiction to “found objects” seems to have diminished a lot. And I’ve found myself putting things away rather than leaving them where I had them last.

The way the interior walls are placed has much more to do with the feeling of space in a house than the actual square footage. I’ve known that. But interestingly there seems to be something else that gives a feeling of space: the lack of desire for more.

Small fridge for a small house

I got a small refrigerator-2.7 or 3.7, somewhere in there-yesterday at a garage sale, and am pleased with the purchase. If it works out as well as it may, I might not ever want a full size fridge again. I enjoy grocery shopping, prefer everything fresh anyway, and really only need a refrigerator for milk, yogurt, condiments, and leftovers usually. Freezer space is a little more difficult to manage. I love a large freezer, and mine’s usually full to overflowing with bargains. The fact that I forget them until freezer burn sits in makes me think the smaller freezer won’t be such a bad thing, either.

 

 

In other news the owner of the house I was going to buy has signed a release of contract. That’s a relief. I didn’t realize that if the realtor isn’t really good, a buyer may be stuck. A buyer can’t really do inspections prior to an offer, but after an offer has been made if the proper contingencies aren’t written into the contract, the owner can sue if the buyer tries to back out, in addition to keeping the earnest money.

I will be very, very careful if I ever attempt to buy another house. More than likely, though, my next purchase will be the land I hope to build on unless the perfect cabin comes up for sale in the perfect place. I guess I’m slightly strange, but I like the idea of owning a piece of land. If I have land, I have a small means of providing my own food, whether that be a garden or chickens or an orchard or some combination. Without land, I don’t feel truly self sufficient. Guess it’s the country girl in me… or maybe the pioneer blood.