Every little bit helps


Typically when a storm is projected to come through it splits and goes around us, or skirts around to the north or south.

Last night we finally got the rain we so badly needed.

The Flirt complained that we’d probably only get an inch, and that wouldn’t be enough. We did get about an inch and a quarter. While he’s right that we need more, it’s certainly better than not getting any.

It’s nice to walk outside today and not feel my skin dry up just for being outside for a few minutes. It’s nice to see the weeds in my front windows yard green up. It’s nice that the gardens got watered and I didn’t have to drag the hose around.

So what if we didn’t get all the moisture we need in one shot? If we did, there would be flooding, as happened to some of the streets in Estevan, just a few hours north of us in Canada.

Small blessings are good blessings, and I’m grateful. Here’s hoping you find all of the small blessing around you that are just waiting to be noticed! It takes practice, keep trying!

The ride I didn’t know I needed


Yesterday was a beautiful day. Not only did we get some more work done in the back yard, but we also attended two fund raisers.

The 2nd fundraiser was for a motorcyclist who had been injured in an accident. We went there on The Flirt’s motorcycle, and riding that motorcycle was something I didn’t know I needed.

On the way home we took a longer ride through the countryside around town, and it was lovely. Even though we are experiencing drought, the countryside of the High Plains is still beautiful.

I’m sore today, because I’m just not in good shape. I wouldn’t give that ride back, though. There is something about a ride in the country that can’t quite be compared to anything else. There’s no stress or worries, just the countryside, watching for wildlife, and the wind in your face. I look forward to the next one.

Now that I’ve finished my coffee, it’s time to get back out into the back yard and finish getting it cleaned up and organized. The next few weeks will go by quickly, and we need to be ready for the new shed to arrive.

Here’s wishing you a lovely Sunday. Blessings all!

One thing at a time. Right now, it’s breakfast.


Life has taken some interesting turns in the last couple of months, and I am feeling the stress of it.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you will recall that I have survived 100% of my stressful situations thus far. And so have you, by the way. ☺️

At this point in my life, I’m still learning coping strategies. Today, after stewing on a new and particularly painful issue, I decided that all I can do is deal with what’s right in front of me.

That thing is breakfast. After coffee, of course. ☕️😁

After sipping down two delicious, hot cups of coffee, I woke up The Flirt and let him know I was putting on the bacon.

Once the bacon was done, I poured off the extra grease and threw in some onions and leftover herb-roasted potatoes.

I fried that up and added scrambled eggs. That along with a well buttered piece of toast and crunchy bacon, and it’s a great start to our morning.

For those minutes it took me to make breakfast this morning, I allowed myself to quit playing chess in my head about the awful things going on in life right now.

Sometimes a small respite from my overactive mind is just the thing. And, I’ve learned to allow myself to have that. After all, the world can’t be saved in the time it takes to make breakfast. Right?

Wishing you all a very relaxing Sunday morning. Blessings all!

My Old House: Closet Fix-Day 2


This morning when I woke up the sun was shining in the window, and I knew I had overslept. Sure enough, it was 9am! I never sleep that late, but yesterday’s activities and sleeping by myself helped that I’m sure.

The 2nd thing I noticed was how lovely my closet looked with the new paint. But wait… what the heck is THAT?!

It’s hard to see in this picture, but there’s a dark smudge that looks like something is bleeding through the paint. Well, I could take time to paint it again, or I can get on with my project because daylight is burning and this HAS to be done before end of day.

Long story short, my clothing will cover that up once everything is back in the closet. I’m a firm believer in picking your battles, and this just isn’t a big enough problem to hold up progress. Moving on!

So, I got up and made coffee and breakfast, and then we got on with putting the closet back together.

The Flirt jumped into action and began assembling the shelving we cut to size the night before. As it turned out, I had to run to the local hardware store to pick up some different brackets. Once we got those, it was all down hill.

You’ll notice that there are bare patches where the door hinges used to be. There’s no room for a door in here, so that went away a long time ago. I’ll fill in and paint those bits this spring when we tear everything out of the spare room and closet for that major remodel. I may even put a curtain up just to give it a finished look.

Now it was time to Marie Kondo all of the clothing and only put back in the closet what sparked joy! Astonishingly, I only have a very few items I’m keeping for when I lose the 10 lbs I gained this year, and another 10 or so shirts that I just don’t like any more. I will donate those.

So, several trips back and forth from my spare room to my fabulously updated closet, and now it’s got everything in it and there’s room for more!

The thing I don’t like about remodeling projects is the mess and chaos it causes in my little house. However, you can’t have positive change without a little chaos, and this project was certainly worth it.

Here’s hoping you all have time and space for any little chaos you might need to deal with to generate progress. Sometimes the mess is worth the effort. Blessings all!

My Old House: Closet Fix-Day 1


For 20 years I’ve struggled with my closets. My old home only has 800 sq ft, and it’s got tiny closets to go with it. It wasn’t unusual for me to finish my laundry and have to hang some of my shirts on the door frame of the closet because there wasn’t any more room.

Not only is the closet small and poorly organized, but it still has a remnant of the nasty old carpet the house had when we moved in. I desperately needed a fresh coat of paint as well.

First thing to do on the list is get the closet empty. As I disgorged the entire contents of my closet onto the bed, The Flirt looked on in awe. He couldn’t believe I could have that much packed into that little closet. Not only is this an opportunity to refresh and reorganize my closet, but it’s also an opportunity to downsize the contents. There are so many things I keep shoving way over to the side and never wear. Time for those things to get donated and quit clogging up my space.

Now time to get rid of that crappy carpet. Your best tools for this are a good blade, a flat head screwdriver, pliers, and a hammer. Taking the staples out was easy, but it took longer to get the tack strips off from around the edges.

After getting all of that removed from the floor, I swept it up and got ready to paint. I got a stain and odor blocking paint/primer in as bright a white as I could get. A small brush and mini roller were all I needed to this job done.

It’s astonishing how quickly a little white paint can make such a big difference. It only took me a little over an hour to get the first coat on, and it was clear from the get-go that it would need two coats. I gave it two hours to dry, and then put on the 2nd coat.

By the time I got done putting on the last coat of paint it was bed time, so I cleaned up, took a shower and hit the sheets. Then I needed to move the giant pile of clothes to the spare bed. It took three trips!

Unfortunately, the paint I used was kind of smelly, so The Flirt ended up sleeping on the couch. I was so tired I didn’t notice he was gone. Tomorrow it will be time to put in the new shelves and put my clothes back onto the closet!

Tune in tomorrow for Day 2!

Thank goodness that’s over!


It’s currently 12:07am, January 1, 2021, and I’ve just crawled into bed. I’m laying here listening to fire works being lit all over town, and I can’t even be mad about the noise. We finally made it out of the overwhelming and seemingly inescapable chasm 2020 felt like.

I snapped this picture just as the clock ticked over, and then I opened my doors to get some fresh air in the house.

My lock screen picture is one I took from the back of The Flirt’s Harley this summer, and it is a reminder to me that not all was bad in 2020. It was a long, awful, stressful, and agonizing year, but it had a few bright spots.

Here’s hoping 2020 held a few positive moments for you all. Thank goodness it’s over, and here’s hoping 2021 will be far and away better. Blessings all!

Your relatives have mad skills…pay attention!


The Flirt and I drove an hour to his sister-in-law’s house last night to drop off some deer sausage. Not only was it a nice spontaneous road trip, but it was good to see her. She’s a nice lady who is fun to visit with.

We had a nice visit, and then when we went to leave, she says, “Do you need any jelly?” Well, of course that piqued my interest. She took us to a hallway pantry that I had’t seen before, and it was packed full of freshly canned goods. We ended up coming home with salsa, pickles, jelly, a jar of apple butter, and some lefse.

I felt a little strange picking things out to take home from her store of home canned goods, but after I chose a small jar of chokecherry jelly, she kept on: “How about some salsa? Do you like the hot stuff?”

She seemed to take a real delight in sending food home with us. It especially seemed to tickle her when I started talking about trying my hand at lefse making. She opened up the freezer and grabbed some fresh made lefse to send home with us.

Loaded up with a grocery bag full of homemade heaven, we got in the car and drove home. On the ride home The Flirt and I talked about his sister-in-law and how she cans and bakes so much, even though she lives alone since her husband died many years previous.

At some point in the conversation he made the comment to me that she is just bored and she cans so much to keep busy. He said it kind of dismissively, and it pissed me off a bit. He didn’t seem to appreciate her generosity as much as I do.

The Flirt is the youngest of four very well spaced out children. He was only six years old when his only brother, the oldest sibling, got married. He’s now 57, so as long as he can remember, his sister-in-law has been cooking for the whole family. If there’s a family gathering, especially if hunting is involved, everyone gathers at her house for breakfast before they head out, and then again for supper at the end of the day. And, she sends cookies and snacks along to tide them over through the day. OMG, her homemade donuts are the best!

She makes and shares her baked and canned goods with everyone, friends and family alike. She enjoys it, and it’s such an incredible expression in love. The Flirt seems to take it for granted because that’s just the way it’s been for the entirety of his memory.

Feeling a little aggravated at his apparent lack of appreciation, I drug out my soap box a bit and clued him in as nicely as I could that he shouldn’t take her for granted.

Something people don’t realize is that their older relatives have mad, amazing skills. The Flirt’s sister-in-law is a walking compendium of a lifetime of experience. She takes raw materials and creates amazing food that is not only tasty, but is also shelf stable. That’s nothing to sneeze at. She can also feed big groups of men for days. Not only are the skills she uses a benefit for her family, but she is ready to barter if there is an opportunity to trade her goods for some she doesn’t already have, or for services she might need. She can also teach people her amazing skills. In fact, while talking with her about lefse making, she clued me in that you can’t let the dough sit for longer than overnight in the fridge, or your lefse could turn out dry and brittle. That’s a good tip for a novice like me.

I guess the long story short here, Faithful Readers, is that your elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors have a lot of knowledge and skills to share. Pay attention and learn from them. In some cases, skills are dying out for lack of people stepping up to learn. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to teach you a skill you want to learn how to do, then be available to learn it.

Here’s hoping that you all find folks in your life to learn skills from, then make sure to pass those skills on to others. Blessings all!

A road trip and a fuller freezer


Last weekend The Flirt and I went on a road trip to Fargo, and it was a much needed outing.

A few weekends before, The Flirt and his nephew went deer hunting, and he was able to fill his buck tag. Since we don’t have a garage, or anywhere else to process game, his nephew volunteered to process the deer. He, his girl friend, and best friend broke down the meat, ground it up, made sausage, and smoked it for us.

I am profoundly grateful as I have no idea how to do any of that.

Yet!

I have plans to learn these skills this coming year, in hopes of being able to process a deer next year. I’m even toying with the idea of getting my hunter’s safety so that I can go hunting too.

So, now we have 25 pounds of extra meat in the freezer. It’s a just little freezer, and it’s not full yet, but that’s ok. It’s just the two of us here in this little house.

Not only did we bring home some really amazing deer sausage, but it was a great drive. The weather was good, and we got to go somewhere else. Due to COVID we haven’t gone on many road trips at all this year. The last time I was out of town was July. We are used to taking lots of small trips in the summer, and we missed them terribly.

We couldn’t have asked for a better start to this trip. The sunrise was so lovely, we had to take a few shots of it.

Here’s hoping that you all have, or make, opportunities to get out when and where you can. Get some fresh air, watch the sun rise, take a drive. Hang in there… better times are coming. Blessings all!

Hang on, the light’s coming back!


This time of year is particularly difficult on the High Plains because the nights are so interminably long. Every single evening these days, I hear The Flirt commenting about how it’s only 6 or 7 o’clock but it “feels like midnight”.

He isn’t wrong. It gets dark by 5:30, and it feels like it’s getting on bed time. I find myself crawling into bed by 7:30-8 o’clock at night, and grateful to do so, just because it’s so dark outside. It feels like I get up, go to work, come home, eat supper and go to bed. Rinse and repeat daily. Not much else going on.

I realized yesterday, with an equal measure of dread and gratefulness, that we are just about ready to enter December. I always dread December because the whole month is dark, snow-bound, and over saturated with all things Christmas.

I’m so grateful the last month of the year is finally here so we can get on with the next one. As you’ve personally experienced, 2020 has been a uniquely awful year. Good riddance.

December finally arriving this week also brings the Winter Solstice which, in the northern hemisphere, is the shortest day of the year. We are three short weeks away from December 21st, and then the light begins to return!

I’m so grateful. I miss my long summer nights, and waking up with the sun rather than before it. My thoughts are turning to spring and gardening. I can’t wait.

There’s something else at play here, something I haven’t given a voice to because I was afraid that it wouldn’t come to pass.

We, as a country, may now have a new lease on life. It’s been a long, terrifying year what with the pandemic and the election. I feel like the longest night is almost over and hopefully we can start looking forward to brighter days ahead. It seems like we’ve been holding our breath for so long, and I’m dying to let it out and take a deep breath of fresh air.

Just my two cents, there. I am starting to feel cautiously optimistic.

Here’s hoping that you all are hanging in there with me. Take heart, the light will start to return shortly. Blessings all!

Finding normalcy in an abnormal holiday time


Thanksgiving this year is really different at my house, as it is for most people. It’s just me and The Flirt at our house this year.

I’m used to cooking for a house full of people, and having my home full of all the good smells that come with Thanksgiving. This year, there won’t be any of that.

Well, mostly not. There is one exception.

Every year, family and friends converge on my house, and everybody brings something. After all these years, we have it down to a science. My part is to make the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cookie salad, veggie tray and get the lefse. That last one is important, because Thanksgiving in North Dakota isn’t right without the lefse!

Well, when it was decided that there would be no gathering for Thanksgiving, it really made me sad. Not just because I haven’t seen my parents or friends in months, but also because Thanksgiving, and the food that goes with it, is my favorite. I don’t give a care about Christmas, or any other holiday, but I love Thanksgiving. It’s the only regular holiday that’s worth much in my estimation.

I had a conversation with The Flirt about what we should eat for Thanksgiving, and his immediate reply was “roast beef”.

Yuck.

Roast beef isn’t my favorite, and I’ve always had a hard time trying to cook one so it doesn’t feel like chewing rubber. I was kind of hoping he’d at least say “ham”, but I knew he wouldn’t want turkey. He hates turkey, which is a crying shame since I’d never just cook it for myself.

I expressed my dismay at the prospect of trying to cook a decent roast beef, and he came up with the idea of grilling steaks. That’s not normal Thanksgiving fare, but if we have to change things up, this is a good way to go.

So, the steaks are happily marinating in the fridge, and they will be great with green beans and garlic mashed potatoes.

Even with the promise of that lovely meal, I couldn’t help myself but pop a ham in the oven, too. I wanted my house to smell like Thanksgiving, and it’s just not right to have no leftovers. I didn’t get any lefse, but I can pick some up tomorrow after work.

There’s nothing quite like buttered lefse with ham rolled up in it. Hmm!!

He made a face when I told him I was going to put pineapple juice, brown sugar, and cloves on the ham. He doesn’t like it cooked that way, so if he doesn’t eat any, I’ll pop the leftovers in the freezer for later use.

I can’t wait until this comes out of the oven!

We are all having to adjust to regular life being disrupted, but it’s ok to incorporate normal elements into a largely adjusted holiday routine. Any little thing you can do to feel normal in abnormal times, while staying safe, is worthwhile. There’s always something to be thankful for, and it’s still worth celebrating even if it’s different this year.

Here’s hoping however you are able to celebrate Thanksgiving, that you are able to keep some of your favorite foods or traditions, even if your favorite people can’t be there. Blessings all!

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