Things to be grateful for.

I still have a job. The economic downturn has hit home, finally, in a very real and up close way. I had a meeting with my boss yesterday; the upshot of it was that I keep my job, but I got hours cut.  He had two shifts open that I offered to work:  an 8 hour shift every other week, and a 4 hour shift also every other week; these two will keep me at my same hours but I have to be at work an extra day per pay period.  So, because of gas, I am still losing money, but I am grateful to be keeping my job.

I have land to plant on that we own (well, us and the bank).  I have been working in the back yard this afternoon, cutting down a scrub oak, planting lettuce, planting my mini greenhouses with produce, and prepping beds for later in the season.  I could be paying rent that goes ever up, with no available planting space, and no security. I am planting many more plants than we will have room for, but I am hoping to be able to sell some healthy tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings in my community.

We have chickens that give us eggs every day.  We presently have probably more than we can use but I am grateful for the surplus.  I know several people that could use free eggs, and we could reduce our footprint equally well by eating more eggs — local, fresh, organic, and lower on the food chain.  I have already begun trying out egg recipes and will expand our repetoir as the season progresses; I can also crack them open and freeze the eggs raw.  This will carry us through to the winter season when we get few or none. For the cost of grass, water, and a little scratch and feed, we get their love — and eggs!

I have family that is supportive of my craziness.  Not always, but mostly.  And they’re always amazed that stuff works!  I can’t take credit for plants growing, sheep giving wool, cotton plants, flax plants, or knitting needles, but I’m grateful that my family appreciates that I work to give them fresh produce, hand knit socks/hats/sweaters/etc.

Relative health.  I’m strong, I’m willing to work, and I like doing ‘grunt’ work around my house.  I’m grateful I can.

I’m grateful I got a reprieve, that I can still spend my income on prepping our house for a lower cost, lower energy lifestyle, that I can prep my gardens to be self sustaining (thanks in part to chicken poop), that I have sources for local milk and meat.

The Latest Way Arizona is Screwing Its Residents

Remember when you got your license tags, and they were good through the last day of the month when you registered your car?

Not anymore. Now it’s whatever date you registered the car originally, which you will only know by looking at the registration…not til the end of the month.

Thanks to a new unpublicized law, the state now assesses a fee of $8 for not renewing the registration by the date on the paper registration.

Just ask me how I know this.

Pictures of the blacksmith demo Jan. 17

Bending the weld

The photos are from the Arizona Artists’ Blacksmith Association Demonstration at Sahuaro Ranch Park.  The featured blacksmith is Henry Promfret, from England.  This man is amazing.  He gave a little bit of a talk while waiting for the demo to begin, and pointed out that while he is interested in newer ways of doing things, 5000 years of blacksmithing tradition has many timeless lessons and so he still believes in doing things in the traditional manner as much as possible, while still innovating and pushing the bounds of what a blacksmith can create.  He teaches his students using the traditional methods, making sure they have the basics mastered before they go on to newer methods.  He points out, rightly, that if you aren’t going to do anything in the traditional manner, why call yourself a blacksmith?  Why not a welder, or metalworker?

hard at work

tapping the metal into shape

Blacksmith at work

The finished object de art

All in all, a very enjoyable day, and I was amazed at some of the artwork presented by the sponsors, the Arizona Artist’s Blacksmith Association.  The shoes you see on the table are  *also* blacksmithed.  Really.  The detail in the buckles, the wrinkles in the ‘leather’ all done with fire and metal.

Just when you think you know what the future holds…

The Fates laugh at you.

My son Kris, the one who swore he would never have kids (in fact, once told me he didn’t need a wife because he had a dog), just called me to tell me I’m going to be a grandmother, probably mid September. The mom is Katie, the girl he’s been with on and off since he was 15  (he’s 23 now) — they’ve been together pretty much for the last 5 years, but each of them has had an ‘indiscretion’ and they broke up a couple of times over those.  The basic friendship they have had for all of these years, and the care they have for each other always wins out though, so they got back together again in December.

And I had just resigned myself to making baby knits for other people’s kids.