Garden 2017

Gardening season is officially under way here @home.  Wheeee!

2017gardenweedsLast year we weren’t able to get a garden going and we left it fallow for the season. That was hard. It was the first time in many, many years I haven’t had a garden. The result from letting it go is that the garden plot is now very weedy and turning it over by hand is not going very well. We are planning to rent a big tiller this week and get it tilled.  Son is going to whack all the weeds before we till.

2017gardenraisedbedsIn the mean time, the four raised beds are planted and growing. Compost from last year was added as well as local compost to fill the beds.  I didn’t start any plants this year so I purchased tomatoes, cauliflower and onions.  Not heirloom this year but we’ll work on that for next year.  Radishes, broccoli and peas were started by our own saved seed.  Everything is doing well except the broccoli which I think is a bust.  The first bed has broccoli (well, supposed to have broccoli) and peas.  The one behind it has cauliflower and radishes.  The bed next to it has tomatoes and onions.

2017gardenlettuceThe raised bed near the house (dubbed the kitchen garden) has lettuce, garlic, spinach and carrots.  The early spinach planting is pretty much done and bolted and has been reseeded already.

The herb garden is sparse this year.  My lavender, yarrow and savory didn’t make it through the winter so I will need to plant new.  I’m not sure why because our winter was actually fairly mild as a whole.  Chives are going 2017gardenchivesfull blast and drawing many bees.  Hubby loves having them in salads.  We had a nice small harvest of asparagus this year and we are hoping for a bigger one next year.

Lastly, the strawberries are looking great. This bed is badly in need of a good weeding, but the strawberries don’t seem to mind. I’ll need to cover these with bird netting because the local birds (as well as our own chickens) will gobble them up once they start ripening.

2017gardenstrawberriesJust a small update for now.  I’d love to hear about your garden this year whether it is a big farm garden or a small patio container garden.  You can leave a comment or link to your own blog post.

Until next time…live simply and love abundantly!

Ann’Re

Unplugging

img_20170103_155518We recently cancelled our internet service here @ home.  There were many reasons for it, the main one being that it was getting expensive.  We are still able to connect through our cell phones, but having limited data has made us realize we spent WAY too much time online.  It has been a benefit not to be tethered all the time and I have found I am spending more real time with my family and more time getting things done.  Go figure.  The best benefit to unplugging is getting back to living life.

I do miss connecting with all the blogs, YouTube channels, and other streaming I was subscribed to, but now it’s a treat when I do, not a given.  I can do things like blog posts offline and

And in God’s perfect timing, the extra money in the budget helped in a financial pinch that would have really hurt otherwise.

Now I am looking for other things to unplug from.

How about you?  Have you thought about unplugging?  Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

New Year Bible Reading

bibleOne thing I want more than anything else this new year is a deeper walk with the Lord.  I want my relationship with Him to be my biggest priority.  One of the ways I can do that is to spend more time in prayer.  Another is to spend more time in the Word.

I fully admit that I am not good with Bible reading plans. I start well, but finish poorly.  It took me two years to actually finish a one year reading plan.  So I don’t commit to them anymore.  I don’t want my quiet time to feel like an obligation or drudgery.  At the same time, I do want to read through the Bible cover to cover, otherwise there are books I would never read otherwise (like, for example, Leviticus.)

My reading plan is simple: I start in Genesis and just read.  Some days it might be a few chapters, some days a paragraph or two.  The key for me is there is no schedule and no pressure to finish by a certain time.  It could take me several months to finish or it could take a few years.  I can take my time and meditate on Scriptures as the Spirit prompts, or just read and read when my heart is just hungry for the Word.

Taking away the pressure of schedules and deadlines also takes away the guilt of not sticking to the plan or not finishing.  It allows me to enjoy my Bible reading with the freedom to slow down or speed up reading based on His leading, not my schedule.

Do you use a Bible reading plan?  I would love to hear about it and how you use it!

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

tightwadOur financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last several years.  We’ve had to tighten our belts, loosen them a bit, tighten them again, and just when we thought things were getting better we had to tighten more.

I’ve pulled out The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn to re-read.  It’s a compilation of the bygone newsletter The Tightwad Gazette.  The book is a bit outdated, and while everything she presents in her book may not apply, the book itself can be a good read to find ideas to apply to your situation and put you into the frugal mind set to come up with your own ideas. It’s one of the books I think everyone could benefit from reading.

Amy’s personality made being frugal fun, not drudgery.  Her wisdom and experience really helps you refocus the way you see things.  One of the things I like about this book is all the creative ideas for repurposing.  I have to be careful, I have a tendency to save everything thinking it could be useful one day. lol

The book also has recipes.  Here is a recipe we like from The Complete Tightwad Gazette for Bean-Bacon Chowder (just in time for fall!) I make my own versions of this quite a bit.

Bean-Bacon Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1/4 tsp crushed dried thyme
1 22-oz jar of baked beans or substitute homemade
1/4 cup snipped parsley

Cook bacon and onion in a saucepan until bacon is lightly browned and onion is tender. Blend in flour. Add milk; cook and stir until bubbly. Dice potatoes; add with thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done. Stir in beans and heat through. Top with parsley. Serves six.

Genesis 41:35-36 – And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.

Here it is, my political post.

votingI feel awkward putting this out, but I also feel it is necessary. Our nation is in chaos over the upcoming election and it seems that people are violently going off the deep end for their particular candidate. It’s crazy.

Before I really get into this I want to give you a little history. I lived with my grandparents growing up and they were non-political. It wasn’t discussed much and when it came time to vote, they pulled the party lever and called it done. When I got into high school, I started finding politics interesting. When I was able to vote in my first election, I was working on the mayoral campaign for a candidate in our city. He won. I was jazzed.  I became a political junkie.

As I moved out into the real world after high school, I began to realize my life and my views didn’t line up with the politics I was supporting. I started really looking at the issues instead of the party, and I so I switched and officially registered in the other party. They didn’t fully line up with my beliefs, but it was close enough to throw my support that way. This will probably date me more than I want, but even though I was registered with one party, I voted independent for Ross Perot because when I looked at the issues, he is the one that fit my views of them. Yeah, he didn’t win. But I don’t regret the vote.

Real life continued to change my views and I eventually became fed up with the party I was registered with and became a registered independent, and continue to be today. I didn’t want and still don’t want to be associated with any party. Even being an independent has the assumption of being a certain type of voter that doesn’t fit me. Frankly, the political games and power struggles just disgust me. As my faith has grown deeper and I study God’s Word, I see politics as a divisive worldly idol that I don’t want anything to do with. I can honestly justify biblically and politically my staying home on election day.

This election season has been the worst I have ever seen. Never has the political game been so corrupt, disgraceful and unstable. The mess makes it hard to be objective and factual when there is so much muck and distortion to sort through.

It is because of all of this I have to step back and just look at the issues that matter to me, and look at where the imperfect candidates stand on those issues. I won’t go with a party, they are both corrupt, and I won’t go with a certain personality, I am solely looking at the issues that matter to me and making my voting decision on that. If I were to go based on a party or a personality…I simply vote no on election day by staying home.

Folks, in four years we’ll be having another presidential election. Maybe the choices will be better, maybe they won’t. This election though, things are different and some important issues hang in the balance. The issues themselves don’t have term limits and the direction these important issues go, such as supreme court nominations, they will have an enormous impact long past the term of any president. Who you vote for is your business, but I hope you are voting informed on the issues and not by emotions fueled by the media. God will remain on the throne regardless of who wins the election.