Blog Archives

Reading, Blogging, Being Positive, and Love….Oh My!

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Reading and Blogging
In the past few weeks I think I have spent more time reading (and enjoying) other blogs than I have spent thinking about what to write in my own. But hey, why stress about it. This is suppose to be fun, right? In some ways I think this mimics my own personality. Meaning that sometimes I just love to sit, listen and observe those around me. This can sometimes be misunderstood as a lack of interest. No, No, and No. That’s not it at all. When I have something to say, I say it. Many years ago someone once described it this way “Still waters run deep.”

Now, if Becky were here to give her 2 cents at this point she would probably say something like “Watch out, because once he decides it’s time to say something you might be there for a while.” Whaaat?

It’s amazing how after so many years together I can actually hear her response in my head without her being here to say it. And, she would probably respond by saying “Good, now it’s like I can be in two places at once which is a great way to multitask!”

Here are four blogs which I have been enjoying lately.

The Kitchens Garden
Fantastic pictures! Have a look at the recent guest posts from other farmers which have been very enjoyable and where I found Brat Like Me.

The Aran Artisan

One Man and His…

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Being Positive
It’s interesting how our internal dialogue can so easily turn negative at times. I have raised this topic with several people and it’s very interesting to note that a commonality is that, for many people, negativity is the default with their internal mind chatter. I’m not even referring to the potential for spoken negativity. Which, by the way, flows from the bad internal dialogue. Which brings me to my point, why is negativity the default for so many people? Why is it such a struggle to have a positive internal dialogue? Shouldn’t the default be to think good thoughts, and negativity should be a struggle?

Why does this even matter? Now I might lose some people here because this may sound “way out there”.
Your thoughts determine how you feel….and those feelings create what you experience. Negative thoughts bring negative feelings, resulting in negative experiences. Positive internal dialogue (thoughts) generate positive feelings and positive experiences! Wow…..that’s soooo deep.

If that was too heavy for a Friday…..I will bring it back down with some talk about Love. Sure, why not! It’s February, it’s freezing out and I can’t plant anything. I can’t figure out how to order every seed in the seed catalogue because we just don’t have the space for that kind of variety….so why not write about Love.

Love and Valentine’s Day
I once worked in a job which did considerable business on Valentine’s Day. I would see mostly men come into the shop absolutely desperate to buy something…anything. Becky and I never really bought into the idea of Valentine’s Day. A bit too commercial. I wanted to share a little secret with each of these guys when they came in. “Pssst. Hey buddy, want to know something? Do nice things for her at random times throughout the year and you won’t put so much pressure on yourself on this one day. The importance of this one day is diminished. It’s better for everyone.”

Many years ago Becky said to me “Why would I want this show of Love to be limited to a single day of the year? Spread it out. It’s about the small things you do throughout the year.”

Huh? What does this mean to my man-brain trained by advertisers to believe I must buy something on Valentine’s Day? Time to get quiet again and mull this over.

Emerging from the cave like a wise sage, I now understood.

Here are a few things which I do for Becky to surround her with Love. They are not extravagant things, but they don’t need to be. On a very cold day, while she is in the shower, I will warm up her towel in the dryer and then quietly put it within arms reach. Toasty warm! Another is to send her flowers on a completely random day…just because! Or, during the summer when our peonies are in bloom, I will cut one early in the morning and leave it on her nightstand while she is still asleep. Who wouldn’t like to wake up to the scent of a peony in the air.

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Becky says she’s a lucky woman. I’m a humble guy, so I won’t say anything about that. However, sometimes I joke with her and say “Don’t all guys do these things?”

Have a great weekend!
Stan (…and Becky)

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Our First Craft Fair

Back in November Becky and I attended our first craft fair. It was in support of the United Way so table rental fees and a donated raffle item went to charity.

Becky and I have been making earrings for about 2 years now. This started when I decided to make 3 pairs as part of Becky’s Christmas gift two years ago. One of the pairs was made from a large crystal which a family friend bequeathed to us when he lost his battle with cancer. I was able to remove two pieces small enough to create a pair of earrings for her to remember him.

Here is the full crystal….

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And it got turned into this…

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Since that time we have made and sold many pairs of earrings. During the craft fair one lovely woman who bought a pair of earrings was actually sending them to a relative in Germany. How cool!

In addition to earrings, we have also been making handcrafted soap and an amazing natural lip balm which we have been using, and decided to sell them as well. Being our first craft sale we didn’t know how people would respond to our handmade items. As it turned out the soap and lip balm disappeared very quickly with additional orders coming in after the fair. The earrings did well too, but we wish we had made more soap!

Here is what our table looked like…

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It’s interesting how things unfold. A Christmas gift of handcrafted earrings turns into selling them. The soap making also started as a gift. Last Christmas I bought Becky all the needed items to start making soap. I planned the sequence of the individual items she opened to maximize her confusion. Seemingly random items which had nothing to do with one another were slowly unwrapped. One item, which didn’t quite fit under our “stocking stuffers only” gift exchange rules, was a wooden soap mold which I made for her. It was added to the pile of strange items laid out before her until finally she unwrapped the instructions and it all made sense.

We always have lots of laughs on Christmas morning, which is the way Christmas should always begin, filled with laughter, smiles, kisses and hugs. This most recent Christmas we decided not to exchange gifts at all, and we still had a great morning filled with those same things.

That’s the long version of how we ended up making those particular items. That’s the way life is sometimes. It turns and twists, and before you know it you are at a craft fair selling things that you enjoy making and using yourself. We sure make one hell of a team!

Happy Homesteading!

Stan (and Becky)

First Coffee of the New Year and Other Wonderful Things

Happy New Year everyone!!!

The morning of January 1st, 2015 started like any other morning, with an amazing cup of coffee. Silvia never fails to deliver on this, but the first cup of the year is extra delicious in the quiet of the morning. Sink into a comfy chair, take a sip, and the new year seems filled with possibilities.

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Last year Becky came across this great idea. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I like to call it a “Feel Good Jar”. This is the picture which she sent to me last year along with the suggestion that we start our own.

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The way it works is that every time something good happens, you write a small note, fold it up and drop it in the jar. Then on New Years Eve or on New Years day you open the jar and read out all of the amazing things which happened to you over the year. Big things and small things.

It’s unfortunate how we tend to forget the small everyday events which light us up, warm our hearts and feed our soul. Kind words from a friend or client at work might be remembered for a few days or a week, but 6 months later you might not remember. I know I won’t. I will definitely never remember the feelings surrounding the words. So when I write it down, I like to add my thoughts and feelings. It helps to bring back all the warm and fuzzy memories with it. Any great moment is worthy of adding to the jar. Becky and I have both been adding to it.

What a way to spend some time on New Years day. Ok, we haven’t actually opening our Feel Good Jar, but one doesn’t want to rush such things. It should be fun and relaxing so why stick to an exact date. It will happen when it happens and not a minute sooner.

I hope you all find a bit of time to look back over some of your fond memories of the past year…and think about all the possibilities of the coming year.

May your jar get filled to the brim!

Stan (and Becky)

PS – I forgot to mention who Silvia is. She’s a model…..well, let me rephrase that……Silvia is the model of espresso maker we have. Made by Rancilio. Those Italians!

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