mossbetweentoes – adventures in homesteading, with brief forays into politics, geekery, parenting, crafting, and design

Getting Organized

20 lbs of tomatoes

I'm not sure what it is about September that makes me want to get organized. Maybe it's from years and years of back-to-school rituals: cleaning out closets, covering books with brown paper grocery bags, purchasing a new backpack and a Trapper Keeper. Maybe it's just the change of seasons. Or, maybe we are like the squirrels and chipmunks when they sense cooler weather coming on, taking stock of our resources and planning for the dearth ahead.

Anyone who knows me can testify that there are some areas of my life where I am extremely organized (just open up iCal on my computer or phone) and others where I am not only unorganized but downright untidy (Chris affectionately calls the half-empty glasses of cloudy water left forgotten on the bedside table "water kefir" - yuck!) Moldy beverages aside, I really prefer cleanliness and order... even if I don't find the time to achieve it everywhere and at every instance. Like most people, it gives me great pleasure to cross "to-do" items off of a list. And lately, we sure have been crossing off things at a rapid pace! It feels great! Chris has done most of the manual labor, for sure, so I should at least give credit where credit is due: it wouldn't be possible without him.

Last weekend we finally installed a shelf (or maybe you'd just call it the cabinet bottom?) in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. It's been missing since we moved here. Cleaning supplies and boxes of parchment paper and aluminum foil were just placed inside, on the subfloor beneath. Yeahhhh. I'm glad that's fixed!

This past week I picked up a bulk order of tomatoes from our farm cooperative. And with the help of friends, I canned crushed tomatoes and tomato puree. Chris and I canned sweet pickle relish, apple sauce, and salsa last week as well. It was a hot steamy mess in the kitchen on most nights. (For my birthday, Chris and the kids got me a pressure canner! I'm very eager to try making and putting up some lemon curd.)

This weekend, we purchased a glazed earthenware bird bath to be used as a bee watering hole (discounted because the top part had separated from the base... nothing a little liquid nails can't fix!) and also another apple tree (marked down 40% for an end-of-season sale) and planted it. I also got around to planting the rest of our perennial plants on the slope (butterfly bush, English lavender, hyssop, and viburnum trillium) as well as the gooseneck loosestrife in our part-sun garden around back. While the kids made a play fort out of a no-longer-in-use garden trellis, the bee hive got a sampling grid installed, so we can check on our varroa mite population. Chris fixed up some wiring in the attic that needed to be properly joined in a junction box, and also installed 24 cumulative linear feet of shelving in the kitchen, to house all of our bulk and canned goods.

The only downside to this last accomplishment is that, in the process of using the stud finder to find locations to screw in shelf brackets, Chris discovered a pair of king studs on either side of where I have always wanted a window from the kitchen into the dining room. There is a lackluster patch job of the drywall done in the same location - on both the kitchen and dining room sides - so I have often suspected that there used to be a cut-out window there. But, of course, it was also possible that a previous owner had the same idea that I had, but had cut out the drywall, realized they didn't know how to remove the middle wall studs while creating king studs to support the beam above (this is a load bearing wall we're talking about,) and decided to just seal the whole thing up and move on. Not knowing what was under that wall has deterred me from pursuing "the window option" for quite some time. So of course, I leapt with excitement with the discovery of the king studs and was just about to go grab the crow bar from the garage when Chris but the kibosh on my demolition plans. Shelving is what we needed, not a huge hole in the wall, he explained.

And of course, he would be correct. He is the voice of reason when I'm feeling trigger happy. This is the season of Organization, after all. It is not Spring, and we are not in the midst of a season of blustery Upheaval. So I'm just going to file my window dreams away in my mental filing cabinet, ready to be pulled out when I get the green-light from my better half.



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  1. Mo routinely has an abandoned half-glass of water in nearly every room of the house at any given time. Several on her night stand, though those occasionally make it to empty. It’s one of those little things on which neither of us can understand the other. Sounds like we’re not alone. :)

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