Friday evening’s return home from a long day brightened considerably when I found a Fed Ex package on my front porch. It was a heavy, odd sized envelope from a friend in Alabama. Hey, I never get packages from her! It was then I remembered a Facebook post begging her to send me some of her homemade soap. Could it be? I tore the package open wildly to find out. YES!!! I screamed happily smelling the herbs, flowers, Shea and other fragrances billowing out from the package. See my treasures in the photo above!
Shea Butter (for men) – Oats and Rosemary – Rose Pedals – Cucumber & Melon – Lilly & Lilac – Goats Milk with Rose – Chamomile – Lavender and Caribbean
In my childhood years, Grandmother and I made soap on the cool fall days. She would use the fresh cut and grated soap for laundry and bar soap for hands then change recipes for bath soap. I loved the smell of Grandmas line-dried laundry and have the recipes ready to go but have failed to carve out time. I’ve promised my family for years that I would make them Grandma’s soap, but now it’s time to come clean!
This special delivery from a very special friend is exactly what I needed to nudge me toward a batch of Grandma’s fresh smelling laundry soap. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d love to have your soap recipe too. Please post to this blog. I have the book below for hand soap recipes but will post Grandmas secret recipe next week for you (have to retrieve it from my basement storage). Let’s share soap recipes!
Posted in art, cooking, foodie, gardening, green, health, Nebraska, Self-Sustainability
Tagged country, country living, farm, herbs, homemade, simple, soap
A dear friend of mine delivered to me today a container of “Gooseberries!” I know….you are wondering..What are gooseberries? They are the smallest, most beautiful, tart, little stripy beads of wonder you can imagine. Grandma used to make gooseberry/mulberry jelly and I’ve ordered duck with gooseberry chutney in past dining expeditions mixed with some other fruit that I cannot recall at this moment. But there is a mystery about the gooseberry that we need to expose.
I decided to make a gooseberry chutney for pork, duck or fish (Why not chicken or turkey too?). Cooking down the gooseberries and onion with a bit of clear water after topping and tailing the berries, was a joyous time-passing exercise. Later, I added vinegar, sugar, dried blueberries, raw sugar, spice and lemon. I cooked it all down, then canned it with a wax capping to insure freshness while the flavors emulsified further for several weeks in the cupboard.
What a lovely treat to enjoy the organically grown berries as accouterments to any light meat or cheese. It took more than a few hours to make, but what a luxury! Blue-Goose it up folks!
After nearly 24 years of living in my house, I decided it was time for a change. Perhaps I needed a new challenge. Or maybe it was a desire to live among fruit trees and berries in solitude far from other humans that drove me to it. Whatever force caused it, I moved to an interum cottage one-fourth the size to ponder more before leaping toward a 15 minute drive daily.
Packing and purging for several weeks made me realize how much unnecessary stuff was in my house. I removed bags of clothes and shoes, boxes of finances from over 20 years ago, greeting cards and media from decades ago that no modern gadget could operate not to mention hordes of trinkets, do-dads and ancient cosmetics.
In the cottage, there is only room for bare essentials. The tub is old and shower curtain circles above it. The bedroom closets are small but have room for a few pairs of shoes, three or four suits and a few shirts. There is no dishwasher, disposal nor microwave. Happily there is a front porch as well as a small enclosed back porch, where my cat naps. The basement is a bit scary so I’m glad laundry day is only once a week.
Simple is beautiful and the process of managing with less is magnificent, for the moment, anyway.
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Five O’clock on Thursday, a friend summons me to her farm. Excited, I rush from my day to find her 12 miles away at the back of her house on a plank that overlooks green rolling hills dotted with cheerful … Continue reading
Every May I am distracted from life by the most fragrant, plump, blooms of peony bushes in parks, allies and yards of others. The peony has always been my favorite flower, pink, white & reds,a silky soft and fluffy with peddles. And if you pick them early enough, you can avoid the ants who cannot resist such extravagance.
Why have I not planted my favorite flower before? Is it because after the May bloom, they are cut down, not to be remembered again until the next spring sprouts nudge me? Or is it because having such luxury on my own parcel of the earth would fulfill me too completely?
Pondering the Peony, I enjoy dinner tonight with a vase centered on my dining table overflowing with beautiful puffy peddles, fragrant and pink swiped from a neighbors supply.
Posted in gardening, green, health, Nebraska, Self-Sustainability, Simple Living, simple living tips JJ Palmtag
Tagged flowers, gardening, home, homes, house, houses, Nebraska, Palmtag, perennials, simple, simple living
This year, 2013 I moved into a home with no dishwasher, no disposal and laundry in a questionable basement. The bedrooms (2) are small with lighted but limited closet space. The floors are hardwood but damaged from leaking radiators of years gone by. I place my cookware on open shelves near the stove. In this place, I have found profound beauty. Meditation in the act of washing dishes and flatware; joy in cleaning antique windows. Sounds of imagined bats, children playing nearby and morning birds have awakened me to other dimensions. This place, any place different, arouses learning and enlightenment. When Jesus, Buda, and Rumi explored and ridded themselves of “stuff”, surely they felt the joy of nothingness I have the vague idea of now. Elimination of worldly distraction yields true knowledge, I think.
Posted in simple living tips JJ Palmtag
Tagged country, garden, historic, historic home, historic houses, home, homes, house, houses, Inc. Nebraska City, janet palmtag, real estate, simple, simple living, vintage
Disposing of mind-cluttering stuff; unnecessary gadgets and excessive life accouterments. Eliminating processed consumables, modernities and multiplicities. Breathing slowly, deeply and with purpose.