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Archive for the ‘Canning’ Category


Hi. My name is Tikki, and I’m an addict.

Never in my life did I expect to end up here.

Never in my life did I anticipate working so hard to secure this stuff, nor feeling like the world was going to end if I missed my window of opportunity for getting it.

Never in my life did I expect to have radar where this is concerned, thus sending me into a frenzied state when it’s nearby. (yes, really, I am sad to say- if you know my kids, you will know this is true.)

Never in my life did I think my life would revolve around this. (Ok, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, given that this isn’t about chickens. :lol:)

My name is Tikki, and I am hopelessly, and quite unexpectedly addicted to green chile.  😆

We had been here for a few years before I became hopelessly addicted.  Initially, I shook my head in wonder at the stampede during chile season, and kept shaking it as I saw people waiting to have their haul roasted when I went in to do my grocery shopping and the same people still waiting when I came out an hour later.

“What on earth was the fascination,” I wondered.

My dear friend who lived across the street had hers roasted, and then she froze it.  I remember asking her what they used it in, and her funny smile as she replied, “Everything. We use it in all kinds of dishes- R (her husband) eats it on his baked potatoes.”

Well, huh.  And still I resisted. I was from Michigan, after all, and certainly, there was nothing I was missing. 😆

Last year, I canned 90 lbs, about 3 bushels, of green chile. I’ve got mild, medium, and hot. Now that it’s green chile season again, I am going to have reorganize my pantry, and see if I can actually fit more in there.  I may only have to do a bushel this year.  Because I’m an addict, I may end up doing more, even if I don’t actually need it right now. 😆

There is nothing in this world better than the smell of roasting green chile. (Except maybe the new baby smell!)  😉

Most people freeze their green chile.  I, however, can it.  I have nightmares (literally, I do!) about the power going off and losing everything in my freezer. As it is, one of my OCD traits is while checking the locked doors at night, checking-repeatedly- that the freezer in the garage is closed.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out and found the freezer not quite sealed, and shut it all the way, averting the impending disaster.

Generally, I use 1/2 pint jars to can, which gives me the ability to add a smaller amount to dishes like macaroni and cheese, for example, without making it a necessity that everyone else in the family is subjected to my addiction. In these situations, I add the green chile to 1/2 of the dish; leaving the other half free for those in my family who don’t have the good sense to be addicted like me.  🙂

The general rule of thumb is to have the green chile processing within two hours of roasting. Because skinning and dicing (I use a food processor for the dicing) is a time-consuming venture, much to the chagrin of my kids, this means I enlist their help.  We have a system down pat, where we skin and clean, chop, can and process.  Looking at last year’s records, I see that one bushel of green chile generally equals about 45 1/2 pints. This literally was an all-day event for us, taking breaks, of course, while things were pressuring.

Hatch green chile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatch,_New_Mexico) is known around the world, and is considered to be “The world’s best chile pepper.” This year, there was some concern about the crop, given the severe drought we are in.  I was expecting chile prices to be outrageous, but at this point, they seem to be similar to the normal going price in years past.

Because the New Mexico green chile is so well-known, recent steps were taken to protect the use of the term,via the New Mexico Chile Act. The NY Times article, New Mexico Takes Its Chile Very Seriously. Even the Spelling. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/us/27chile.html?_r=1) demonstrates why it’s important for us to protect our chile.

Other resources are listed below: (sorry for the links; WP is being wonky today and not letting me embed them into the text)

New Mexico’s Chile Pepper Protection Law (http://www.trademarksandbrands.com/2011/06/07/new-mexico%E2%80%99s-chile-pepper-protection-law/)

NMDA Interim Director/Secretary Responds to The NM Chile Advertising Act (http://nmdaweb.nmsu.edu/quick-reference/public-relations/NMDA%20Interim%20Director-Secretary%20Responds%20to%20The%20NM%20Chile%20Advertising%20Act.html)

New Mexico Chile Advertising Act (*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this site or its products) (http://www.biadchili.com/blog/?p=7/)

New Mexico Chile Advertising Act (http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/_session.aspx?Chamber=H&LegType=B&LegNo=485&year=11)

Chile Facts (*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this site or its products)(http://www.buenofoods.com/br_chile_facts.html)

 

The next time you are in the mood for something spicy, give NM green chile a go!  Be warned, though: it’s highly addictive!  😆

 

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“What’s the point?  Isn’t that a waste of time?  I mean isn’t it just easier to get it in a box at the store?”

Yes, it probably is easier.  A waste of time?  Not in my reality!

People waste a lot. You would be surprised at all the uses you can find for stuff that most folks just throw away. Bones are one of those things.

There is something soothing about seeing your own food in your own jars; where you know how it was processed and what’s in it. I’ve had people tell me it’s a waste to can, and easier to freeze.

There is really only one thing that I freeze instead of can, and that is pumpkin.  According to the USDA guidelines, canning pumpkin or winter squash purees are not recommended. (more info here: http://www.fcs.uga.edu/pubs/current/FDNS-E-P.html and here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/tips/fall/pumpkins.html)  This has to do with the consistency of puree.

They do say you can cube and can, but that is too labor intensive for me.  😆  So, I prepare and then freeze my pumpkin puree.

And still I have nightmares.  😆  I would be devastated to come home some time and discover that while I was away, the motor on the freezer died.  Or power had gone out for an extended amount of time which resulted in the need to pitch everything. It seems to me that freezing is higher risk than canning, and a risk I can avoid if I can my food instead.

One of the things I can is stock.  Save the bones, and when you get enough, you can make a good amount of chicken, turkey, or beef stock, etc. We use stock for soup bases, gravies, and anything else we can think of. I don’t add salt to my stock, and I usually don’t need to add any bullion, either. The flavor *cannot* be beaten, in my opinion.

Making your own stock is incredibly easy- and I mean that.  Before I made stock for the first time, I was intimated by the unknown.  Once I made it, though, I determined I would never go back! 

It’s basically boil for a few hours or pressure cook the bones in water.  You can add stuff like carrots, onion, etc, but since I use my stock as a base, it seems like a waste to me to use those things and then throw them away.  You could save those items, but if you can your stock, you are double processing (which is not a “problem,” but things will be extremely soft after that point.)  I tend to do what is easiest and least involved.

Once you boil, separate out the bones/meat/fat from the liquid.  Depending on how pure you want your liquid, you can strain through a cheesecloth, strainer, or do what I do- use a slotted spoon of some sort to collect the chunks.  😆  Then process appropriately.

Another benefit to stock is how fast you can make things.  Tonight we did chicken pot pie. I made my roux and then added nearly a quart of stock (I say nearly because it was the bottom of the pot and then wasn’t canned because I couldn’t fit it in the pressure cooker) to complete the gravy.  I used leftover chicken (the stuff that was still on the bones plus some more) and mixed vegetables for the filling, and then added it to the round casserole dish that acts as a ramekin of sorts.

When I make my pot pies, I always use a double crust. This could be made in a square baking dish and I may go that route the next time, because we like leftovers.  You’d have to tweak your crust recipe and maybe do a double crust plus a single, unless you like a really thin crust.

All told, this dinner took me about 10 minutes to put everything together (including making the crust) and get it the oven. I admit, this one was not made with the focus on “pretty.”  This was made in the interest of being late and needing something fast.  I figure, you can close your eyes when you eat if you are offended by the way it looks.  😆 

The most challenging part of this dish was waiting for it to finish baking in the oven.  😀

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Thursday was a mad dash to get ready for chicks, with the expected arrivals coming Thursday evening instead of Friday morning.  They are great fun!

The plan had been: get chicks at 7 am with K; come back here and do apples.  The week brought a variety of adaptations to that plan.  The apples were left over from the Friday prior, when we ended up looking at the garden and chicken tractor instead of canning. Because the apples had been waiting for a week and were getting eaten, I knew I had to get them done Friday, or there wouldn’t be enough left to justify the effort.

I started working on mine, and was finally able to head over to Ks, chicks in tow, to help her get her apples done. As I’ve been researching and looking for recipes, I’m trying to find some where she can omit the sugar.  See my comments below on what I did, vs the recipe.  🙂

 

Apple Pie Filling in a Jar

4 1/2  c sugar
1  c cornstarch
2  tsp cinnamon               
1/4  tsp nutmeg
1  tsp salt
3  tbsp lemon juice
10  c water
6 lbs tart apples, washed, peeled and thinly sliced

Note: Slice apples into a solution of 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 quart of water to avoid discoloration. Drain the fruit well before packing in jars.

In a large pot, blend together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the water and lemon juice with a wire whisk. Cook and stir until bubbly and thick; remove from heat.

Drain the fruit well before packing in jars. Pack apples into clean, hot canning jars leaving an inch from the top of the jar. Fill with the hot syrup, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rim, and apply lids and rings.

Process in a boiling water bath for 20 -30 minutes.

No Sugar:

Omit sugar and adjust:

1 c cornstarch

9 c water

All other ingredients same.

My comments:  I used Jona Gold apples; K used Red Delicious.  I have found the Red Ds to not be as firm, but I don’t think this is a big deal. I have canned all different kinds of apples, and they are all good. I also didn’t measure the lemon juice into the water since we had several bowls going.

I ended up this time with 19 quarts and 1 1/2 pint (jelly jar) of pie filling along with one 1/2 pint of juice, which I didn’t process this time.

You could, I suppose, use Fruit Fresh on the apples instead of the lemon juice in the water.  I don’t, though, because lemon juice is cheaper and I usually have a lot on hand.  Plus, lemon juice is a natural product.  So, that’s my .o2.  😀

When I make pie filling,** I’m usually using a box, which is about 40 lbs of apples.  I have found that an apple peeler is a “must-have” for me.  This makes my time peeling and cutting much easier, since, as you can see from the picture, it spirals the apple.  Once the apple is off the peeler, I cut it in half and plop in the jars.

Another thing that is helpful is to fill the jars with a few ladle scoops of filling, then apples, then top off with filling.  It just seems to go by a little bit faster.

When using an apple peeler, be aware that you get a lot of peels. I have mine saved in the freezer waiting for a resolution to my food processor issue.  I may decide to go ahead and do the apple (peel) butter in the crockpot and then can. On the other hand, I really need to get a working food processor.  😆 

** A regular slicer/corer is good for canned apples.  I don’t remove the peels in this case, but you certainly could if you wanted to. I have also made apple pie filling using the larger apples that come from the slicer, but it’s my feeling that you can pack more smaller pieces of apples (like what you get you from peeler) into your jars than you can get with the larger, sliced apples. We like more apples to juice, but if you want more juice to apples, the slicer is a good way to go.

You could also just do the liquid and add your apples when you are ready for pie, or you could do a variety of apple piece sizes.  If you find your filling consistency is too thin, you could heat it up and add more corn starch; and/or you can add more apples to your filling.  One of the things I looooooveeeeeee about canning is the variations you can come up with.

My plan for today is to use my apple pie filling to make a cobbler.  It’s been a really crazy, busy week (with middle-of-the-night checks on the chicks), and my body is paying for it.  My big stuff today is laundry, chick tv, and hopefully finishing up knitting the one remaining sock while I hang out in bed.  Once I get that done, I’ll go looking for another sock pattern and get that started.  I have yet to use my new set of circular needles, but since I also have a few 5 needle sets, I am going to have to figure out which pattern to do next! 

That’s the plan.  We’ll see if I can stay awake to get it all done.  😆

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Too much time on my hands,

(T T T T Ticking away…..)

I’ve got too much time on my hands  (doot doot doot)……………….

Nope, not really. 😆  But when I think about time or my blog (tikk tok- tick tock- the ticking of a clock), that Styx song often pops into my head. I wish I had more time to do the stuff I have a great time doing, like reading or yarning or canning or or or or or……… 😀

More often than not, what I have too much of – besides stuff – are thoughts in my head (which you may recall is the primary reason I started a blog). One of the recurring themes I think about, which ties very nicely into the yarn, the canning, the garden, and the chickens is preparedness.

Maybe it’s because of the earthquakes, particularly the one in Japan, and the resulting nuclear issues at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, or maybe it’s because of the fires that are raging in my state, largely due to a La Niña winter, but the issue of preparedness has been on my mind. 

To be fair, much of this started with canning, prompted by a desire with yarn years and years ago to make things of value.  Thus the canning evolved into knitting (because you can knit things like socks!), which is another skill set that is useful, which then led to renewed interest into growing food again, and a plunge into chickens, which I had been circling for a few years as well.

If you know me, you know that I research things, probably to death 😆 so I can have an informed opinion.  In my internet travels, I have come across several sites for preparedness.  To ease you into it slowly, and to avoid you feeling like I am a total loon completely off my rocker, 😆 I’ll start with Survival Mom

Yep, that’s right.  I’m not the only mother on this planet that thinks about these things!  I will say that thinking is not the same as acting, and in that regard, I am woefully behind in my family preparedness.  “Why worry about it, when you live in the desert?” you might be thinking and asking yourself. 

Apparently, I am not the only mother living in the desert with such thoughts.  As silly as that may seem, it’s a comfort to me to know that there are others besides a few of my local friends that are thinking along the same lines.  But, unlike myself, Survival Mom has taken real steps to *do* something about being prepared in the event of an emergency.  There is a lot to learn here!  My intent is to read, to learn, and thusly to become educated.

I’ve joined the Survival Mom blog ring, and this is a great place to read all kinds of blogs written by women, which I think offer a unique perspective.  Click on the link above or the icon on the right to see the blog ring. 

Join me on a journey of discovery!

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Is the canning!  Oh canning, how I have missed you!

Seriously, during the school year, who has time (ok, I’ll admit to canning on the weekends, but during the week?!)?  I have come to the realization that I am entirely too busy most of the time. I love not having to worry about being on time for this or that, even though it doesn’t change what time I get up in the morning.  I am solidly looking forward to summer.

One difference this time around is my canning buddies.  There are three of us at this point; two are completely new to canning this week.  Now another friend of all of ours is interested as well, and that’s great!  All of our kids can hang out together (and with the fourth, that will be 9 kids) while we can.  Another perk is that they are inclined to books and yarn like I am, too.  The conversation is never-ending, and I’m not even the one doing all the talking!!  😆

Wednesday afternoon, we went over to K’s house.  S came to observe, and pitched right in.  The first 44 lbs of pears netted K 36 pints and 2 quarts less whatever was eaten before the picture. 

Thursday afternoon, everyone came here.  We got S’s carrots going first, since they needed to pressure cook.  S ended up with 18 pints of carrots, since that’s what I can fit in my canner/pressure cooker at one time.

K brought her canner, which is the same one I have, and we started in on my pears.  I confess, we took a yarn detour before the canning, so we started later than we probably intended to.  😀  I ended up with 15 quarts and 15 pints,  and about 4 pears left over.  Of course, the kids were in and out eating them as they had on Wednesday. 

What’s on deck next?  Chickens. 

Yep.  For real.  😆  We’re going to be planting the garden this weekend, but first, hunny and I are going to look at chickens, and perhaps give one a try.  We’re also going to firm our plans for building into the garage and greatly expanding the pantry.  Either way we decide to go, I will end up with a huge, honkin’ pantry, which will completely solve my “don’t have enough room for my jars” issue – at least until I fill it.  😉

Food-wise, I think the next items on my list to can are going to be beans of all varieties (pinto, navy, northern, etc) and then stock.  I’m completely out of all stock, but I have bones in the freezer, so once the other girls get their stashes up, we’ll have to make a day of it.  Or maybe they can bring their yarn and I’ll can.  Either way, it’s great fun and great company!

Canning.  Give it a try!  You may be surprised at how addictive it is!  There’s nothing better than seeing all your jars lined up with *your* food in them, knowing how the food was processed and what the ingredients are.  It’s right up there with books and yarn!  😆

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Fly LadyStuff.  I have it.  Too much of it.  Really, thanks, I have more than enough.  Do you want some?

Here’s the cliché – cluttered home; cluttered mind.  I’d love to test this and see if it’s true.  There’s just one problem with it – I have too much stuff. It’s not a matter of cleaning; things here are generally clean.  The adults are clean.  The children are clean.  Shoot, even the dogs are clean, as dogs go.

We’re not hoarders, so don’t think in terms like that.  And I’m not one of those people who IS a hoarder but is in denial, just a person saying they are “collectors” of things.  Nope, don’t do that, either. Except books, which was largely unavoidable, until my Christmas shopping resulted in a much-loved Kindle so that I don’t continue to add to the boxes but I digress.

We are very good, in general, about throwing broken items away and donating outgrown clothes and whatnot.  I regularly purge my closet, although I confess that since I despise shopping, I would rather wear clothes something I’ve had for years as opposed to going and buying something new.  I’ll save that for another post.

“So, what’s the problem?” you might be thinking.  My conclusion, which remains the same, is the house.  We’ve been in this house for over 8 years, and almost immediately, I knew we would have problems.  We lost a ton of storage (and a great garage) for a house with more space.  Problem is, we lost necessary storage space and gained things like living space – in all of the *right* areas, I might add.  It’s not a total bust.  I love the spaces we DO have; we just need more of the other kind of spaces.

When we left our other house those eight plus years ago, we were minus a cat, a dog, and a child.  While the bedrooms are bigger and have better closets, having three children of the female variety in one room – one of whom is a tween – the medium-sized walk-in-closet has not come close to solving the chronic issues with having three girls in one bedroom. I, in my naiveté, thought that having another baby that could be a girl would not be too much of a problem, at least until the time came where we sold the house to solve the problem.  So here we are, six plus years after said third girl, and having tried to sell the house for nine months in a failing market, feeling a bit at the end of the rope, and up to my ears in stuff.

If anyone is to blame, I blame myself.  Not so much for having another baby; or for having “too many children” for this house (I mean, who does that, right?  Live your life based on how many you can fit in a car you like or take a chance that you might not fit back into your clothes post pregnancy, requiring more money spent on a new wardrobe?); or even for the amount of stuff this many people require. 

Nope, I blame my lack of inner Martha Stewart.

Back in the olden days, when I had just the one and then just the two kids, I was making all kinds of things.  I made things for their walls, for their beds, and things for other people. I made wall hangings with cute little decorated frames that were painstakingly hand-decorated; I made bedding, including sheets, bedskirts, pillowcases and curtains.  I even made a crib skirt and matching curtains for the nursery.  I made clothes; I sewed clothes and crocheted everything you can imagine – and those things are taking up space, too.  I thought of myself as being generally “crafty,” and was well pleased, feeling like my life was progressing as planned.

By the time baby number three arrived, kindergarten for the oldest was underway, and everything changed.  I didn’t have so much time anymore for making new stuff, so the projects tended to linger for days at a time, on the dining room table, while we moved it aside or ate in the living room. We talked about adding on to our existing house, but decided a different location would probably be better. It wasn’t long until we decided to find a different house, with more space. 

I had been looking off and on for several years, but then I found this house.  And I knew it was a home run – less the storage issue.  I convinced myself (and probably my better half, too) that we would find a way to get through the loss the of storage and everything would work out just fine.

Eight years later, and I am still trying to find a way to fix, treat or solve the storage issue. (Aren’t you proud of me?  I’m trying not to habitually use the Oxford Comma, just to shake things up a bit.  :D)  Yesterday was a day of complete frustration; knowing that not only have I not resolved or adequately treated this issue, but am quickly losing ground.

Yes, this means I – rather, *we* – are trying to put the Christmas things away, including newly added items to the overwhelming stuff problem.  And part of this overall problem is that, really, these are things that are needed, like socks and underwear (indeed, I’ll wrap just about anything, so long as it’s not alive). And other clothes.  And then the more fun items, like a few toys and books.  Did I mention we have a book problem? 😆  In our defense, we’ve been homeschooling for the last eight years, so that endeavor has justifiably added substantially to our ongoing dilemma.

Yesterday, in an effort to combat my overwhelming stuff problem, I grumbled and griped heavily at the kids – who, being kids, are generally unwilling to put good effort into helping clean things up, like putting clothes away appropriately, i.e, hanging in the closet, when it’s much easier to pitch everything on the floor. Logically, I know griping backfires, as does giving praise ;). We’re still working on the concept of children gaining inner satisfaction for things being put away where they belong, which is still a big part of the overall problem.

I got started cleaning the things I can control, like my file boxes, which are organized.  If you know me, you know I am anal when it comes to organization. 😀  Yep, that’s me, known in my work world as a person who has a gazillion files, but can find anything – unless it doesn’t get filed. I *love* ♥♥♥ being organized.  It helps me feel calm, and feel a sense of “all is right with the world and I don’t have to struggle to find what I need,” which let me tell you, is a HUGE thing for me. 

My desk is now mostly free of stuff, and contains my Swiffer, so I can dust my electronics as many times a day as I want.  This will require me to buy another one, but this is a step I am willing to take. If something small like that can help me not to explode while trying to find the one thing on my desk that has sprouted legs and gone wandering off, that is a little bit of progress I am willing to count as a victory.

I go out of my mind – literally – when I can’t find something, particularly when it was *just* right in front of me. In addition to that “Not Me” person who lives in my house, there is also a gremlin that follows people around, snatching up recently set-down items, just for the point of infuriating them. While I know he visits many of you as well, I think he finds my house to be a particularly comfortable environment in which to thrive.

I have a constant battle with stacks. I’ve tried using the Fly Lady method of spending “x amount of time” every day sorting/purging or taking  “x number of items” off the pile every day.  I’ve even thought about getting my shoes on first thing in the morning. Do slippers count?  If they do, then I’m good.  

But shoes “to lace up?” Nope.  Not for me.  One of the things I do the mornings I’m home during the week is run on my treadmill.  The shoes go on pretty early – just not when I first get up with hunny before work.  I get dressed twice as it is.  I don’t think I need lace-up shoes on my feet by 6 am. 😆  Since I’ve now delegated the dish-doing to the kids, the personally shining of the sink every day is off the list, too, although I do try to nag them to shine the sink every day.  That’s not going so well, as you can imagine.  😉

But, I do ok with the stacks, even though they tend to pile up.  I have come to realize that my nemesis in this category is not the junk mail, which I am faithful about shredding, but the magazines I don’t have time to read.  Yes, I read books.  Magazines not so much.  I used keep the pile so I could take my own magazines to the doctor’s office, or when getting my hair done.  I used to have great enthusiasm for the topics in my magazines, mainly Trailer Life and the Good Sam Club’s  HighwaysI also enjoyed reading gift subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens and Reader’s Digest  for a while I think the reading in public while waiting is a task that now goes exclusively to my new Kindle.

What I’ve learned, interestingly, is that because they come, I feel obligated to read them.  The RV camping magazines were good when we were new at it all, and it was great to get educated about RV/camping and find suggestions for good places to go. What I came to understand, however, is that many of these places often weren’t set up to accommodate busy children or were too far away to get to and back on a week’s vacation.  Plus, through the years, I’ve found my own good ways of searching for campgrounds and destinations that will fit our evolving family,which largely involves using the forum accessed by either Woodall’s  (linked from the Woodall’s site) or RV Net. I’ll share those in another post that is more pertinent to camping.

Back to stuff.  Other magazines have involved crafts; crafts which I don’t seem to have time or space for anymore. As a result, reading my magazines no longer has a top spot on my “things I like to do” list, which is getting shorter and shorter these days. Clearly, I resolved a long time ago not to renew these magazines, but one comes as part of a membership (which gives discounts that we regularly use), and one I ordered for several years, several years ago, that I keep hoping “this is the year it expires.” As you can see, the magazines coming into the house will continue to come into the house, and will continue to be a topic taking up gray matter.

The kids’ magazines, on the other hand, like Kids Discover and National Geographic Kidsare considered part of our homeschooling curriculum. This qualifies them as a necessary evils. The kids really like them and get knowledge, so who can argue with that?

The one set of magazines became “bathroom reading” once I was done with them, but it didn’t take me long to realize that I had moved one pile to another pile, and into a place in the house I desperately try (notice I said “try” 😉 ) to keep as “stuff-free” and as “serene” as I can.  Given the stack of books on the dresser, I know I’m not doing so well in that category, either. At least now I have a Kindle, and therefore some hope for that situation.  Moving one pile from one room in the house to another room in the house is not what I would call “solving the problem.”

For years, I have tried not give the kids stuff that has a lot of pieces. Hum. At least most of the incoming items relate to camping, education or have a box to contain the pieces (like puzzle pieces). Progress? The jury is still out on that one.

And I have food stuff, too. While I am lucky to have a large kitchen with more-than-the-average-number-of cabinets, I have learned that once you get hooked on canning your own food, you will never have enough space.  And I mean that genuinely, with great love. 😆 ♥♥♥  There is nothing more satisfying than filling your cupboards with your own food; food that you know how it was processed and food that isn’t loaded with other stuff.  I am unabashedly a canning junkie.  The problem here again, is space.  I don’t have enough space to contain all the stuff I would like to can; therefore, I don’t can as much as I would like to.

Stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff.  It is oozing out of my ears! I used to keep boxes in the garage, so that I could pack away stuff (like clothes that weren’t ready to be used by the next child) and keep the room organized.  When we tried to sell the house, I purged – and used – the boxes I had saved.  See the problem?  I had a span of nearly a year without new boxes to store stuff in, which meant………stuff piling up the room. Since I can’t justify buying plastics (which my attic is full of – containing mostly yarn and miscellaneous other craft stuff) because eventually the stuff will either be used or donated, I’ve had to wait for the cardboard boxes which usually only come during this time of the year.

Now, unfortunately, I find I am terribly overwhelmed with the task set before me.  This is primarily why I am sitting here writing instead of trying to sort through all the stuff.  😆  My real world consists of a days that are packed full of stuff to do – schooling every day, running every morning I’m home, being someplace where people count on me the morning I’m not home, and least two afternoons a week at the job. This schedule has to work around being chronically ill, which in-of-its-self is a never-ending guessing game of “how much can I get done today?” It is no wonder that, come the weekend, I am not interested in doing much besides kicking back and trying to do something I enjoy and find relaxing.  Organizing stuff is not relaxing.  😀

While I know it needs to get done, and probably will get done someday, I am not in a hurry. Logic dictates that the longer the stuff goes unaddressed, the more it’s going to accumulate. This isn’t an untested theory, either. 😆 I know this to be true, because the stuff is oozing out of my ears. Next week is back to normal, and if I let myself think about it, I could get worked up into a real panic. I try to remind myself that, as the Fly Lady says, “….your home did not get this way overnight and it is not going to get clean in a day.”  I have the clean part down ok; it’s the stuff getting organized in a place that it will stay that is the issue here.

What am I going to do today?  I am going to doodle online and then tackle the stack on my dresser, which includes movies I haven’t watched yet.  This, I am confident, will help my overall goal of finding a home for more stuff, since we actually do have a place to put the movies.  Once I’ve worked my way through the pile of “unseen,” I can move them to the “seen” pile, which can then be put away.  See how easy that is?!  If I apply this thinking to other things, I will surely end up with more books read, jewelry made, and magazines thrown away.

But in the back of mind, I know I’ll be thinking about how to tackle the storage problem in the one bedroom, and thinking about whether or not perhaps a storage cube can be of help.  Will it help the containment issue? Do we need to put another bookshelf in there for the growing collection(s) of books? How much will it cost?  How will it wear?  Will it be durable and look good in a month (a year, two years – dare I ask – five?)?  Will it actually get used, or will things still be scattered from one end of the house to the other?

My desk is clean, so I am feeling lighter, at least in this space right here. I’m going to cut myself some slack, and do something more that does not involve tackling the stuff. All the while, though, I’ll be thinking about the stuff, and what to do with it and how to combat and it and wondering if my efforts will make a difference long-term.

Stuff. I’ve got it. And it needs to be organized. Less thinking; more doing.  I guess I’m off – to try to tackle one small pile of movie stuff.

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