Finally, warmer weather

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We’re finally enjoying some fine, warmer and drier weather, and I’m taking advantage of it to clear the yard, plant some seeds, and hang out with our chickens (the wooden bed frame you see in the picture is supposed to be used as part of a fence eventually).

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We’re also being spoiled by lots of beautiful, delicious colorful eggs (collected a great many more since this picture was taken).

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I made another dragonfly crochet pullover. These are so easy and fun to make that I might try another one in toddler size too.

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A beautiful rose. I love the hues. Wish I could plant a bush like that around here.

In between, I’m also getting addicted to this YouTube channel. The unique and beautiful tiny houses are so inspiring. Not sure I’d agree to live full-time in some of those, but as retreats they would be charming. Pop over to have a look if you have some spare time.

A cozy winter day

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A chicken laying one of the first eggs of the year, right on our doorstep – go figure!

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A tray of flourless oatmeal, coconut and sesame cookies – one of my kids’ favorite snacks.

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A pot of soup cooking on the stove.

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A crochet sweater in the making – my first attempt at the dragonfly stitch.

Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Hanukkah and hiking

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First Hanukkah candles 

We lit the first Hanukkah candle yesterday, and of course, couldn’t resist the temptation to make something fried (I always declare that I won’t, and the kids always talk me into it).

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Then today we went for a little hike in the area where we live. The weather was beautiful, and the cyclamens and crocuses are beginning to poke out!

Wishing a happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends, and an enjoyable holiday season to the rest of ya’ll!

Throwback to summer

Every year, there’s this time when we get cooler weather and rains and go through clock change, and I pack away the summer clothes and bring out long-sleeved t-shirts and sweaters. Then after that, we get a spell of brutal, scorching,¬† dry heat that feels like something is constantly burning in my nostrils. This year is no exception.

So I’ve been staying mostly indoors, and when I’m out I don’t do much more than hang out with my chickens and treat my poor plants to frequent showers. On the left, you can spot a young papaya plant in a cage because the chickens tend to pluck its leaves away.

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Being inside means less heavy-duty cooking and more fun kitchen experiments. Below: a bowl of freshly peeled almonds (tip: to peel easily, pour boiling water over them and let them sit for five minutes). I wanted to make almond butter, but because the texture wasn’t smooth enough, they ended up in what I called Accidentally Almond cookies.

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Walking with the kids in the park nearby, on one of the cooler evenings.

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I can’t wait to have some refreshing rain (though I’m not much of a rain person) to wash away all the dust and grime and give us fresher air.

“Should be” vs. “Is”, or the Kitchen Sink Saga

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Last week, I discovered a massive leak under one of our kitchen sinks (yes, we’re lucky enough to have two). After mopping up the mess and emptying the cabinet under the sink, I did what any reasonable woman would do: asked my husband to fix it.

Unfortunately, my husband declared that he’s too busy in the next few days, and that I can just use the other sink in the meantime.

Now, the second sink was OK as an emergency backup, but I have always used the first for my meat dishes and didn’t want to mix them up.

So basically, I had two choices here:

I could stomp my foot and get angry, and rave about how inconsiderate my husband was and what’s the point of having a man in the house if not for such emergencies?!

… Or I could roll up my sleeves and get the job done myself.

(There’s also the option of paying someone else to do it, of course, but it’s kind of out of our budget right now).

I swung by the hardware store, bought a piece of piping after consulting the nice man behind the counter, watched a couple of YouTube tutorials, and dug in.

Did I do the job perfectly? No.

Did I accidentally poke myself in the face with the loose piping, split my bottom lip, dribble blood all over my front and, for the next few days, look like a poster girl for a battered women’s shelter? (I wish I were joking).

Um, never mind.

But is the sink usable again now?? Yes!!

And every time I wash the dishes, I experience this warm glow of satisfaction: I did something that I thought I was incapable of. And you bet it feels a whole lot better than sitting around and grumbling about how unfair it is and how I’m not supposed to also work as a plumber while taking care of four children, running a household, and doing my best to pay the bills.

This little kitchen sink episode illustrates a truth that had taken years and years to penetrate through my thick skull: it’s so much better and healthier to take a deep breath and deal with how things are, rather than keep getting hung up on how they “should be”.

And this, my friends, is – in a nutshell – the difference between the younger me and the me of today. I spend less time thinking about the discrepancies between ideal and real, and more time rolling up my sleeves and getting things done to the best of my ability.

In case any of you Freejinger ladies are reading this (you know who you are!), that’s the process that has brought me to the point where I am today.

I have heard a lovely metaphor, that life treats us like sea glass: the waves, sand and rocks create constant abrasions that smoothe out our sharp edges, tone us down, and shape us into something new and beautiful, and much more pleasant to handle than prickly glass shards.

For me, this process has included internalizing that dreams, ideals and self-appointed rules sometimes don’t match reality, and you have two choices: roll with the waves and become a piece of sea glass, or…

Shatter on the rocks.

I’ll bet you can guess which choice I’m making every day.

The cozy spot

As we’re enjoying shorter days and cooler evenings, I get to spend more time sitting in the shade of our huge mango tree, in the refreshing pleasant breeze. Though our garden is very much a work in progress, it’s always great to be outside.

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Water beading on leaves.

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Can you spot the praying mantis among the leaves of the container sweet potato?

IMG-20190915-WA0011¬†Pomegranates just in time for Rosh HaShana (this one is not from our garden, but I thought it’s a great shot).

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Pink geraniums, spilling over from their pot.

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More geraniums, a little sunburnt but refreshed by prolific watering.

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On the crafty side: a cozy textured hat I’m making while dreaming of colder days and frosty mornings coming up in a couple of months, hopefully.

Meanwhile, around here

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We’ve had a pretty ‘blah’ week with a nasty cold making its rounds around the family, so I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack and take things as easy as possible. Of course, some things still need to be done – little people and critters need to eat on time, and we all need clean clothes, for instance. In the photo above, Hadassah is helping feed our little pullets (they’re really spoiled and will leave half their grain behind unless it’s cooked!)

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We did still make time for some really, really short walks recently, but today, truly, it has all been about keeping my head above water. Just washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking a simple pasta dinner, and taking care of the plants has been a huge accomplishment in my book. And of course, we’re still doing some crafts in between to unwind and relax.

Now that I’ve put the littlest one to sleep, I’m off to reading with the older kids, and hopefully, we’ll all have an early bedtime tonight.