Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fences

This was a horrible weekend. My chickens were killed by my neighbors dog. The black lab broke free of it's tether, dug a hole under the fence and attacked. We were devastated. They were more than egg layers, they were our pets. We knew their quirks and personalities and it has been very difficult to let them go in this way. Shortly after everything happened, a friend from the ward came by to see how I was and I told her what happened. She was pretty sympathetic, having grown up on a farm.
We got to talking about it and saw some interesting gospel lessons in what happened. She had just gotten back from her sister whose husband had just left her for younger, prettier girl. They had been married in the temple, both served faithfully in their callings, had 4 daughters, and appeared to be a very happy, normal family.
On the surface my backyard looked pretty safe. Fully fenced, lots of places to dig, and fully fenced. And I took that fence for granted. I knew of the weak spots, but I knew no animals lived in that yard. I never, ever could have imagined a dog digging under the fence so I let my guard down. And as each day my ladies remained unscathed passed, the more relaxed I became.
I do that with my family too. We go to church, pray, have FHE, read scriptures...our family is fully fenced, right? But Satan is there, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Do we really know our childrens' friends? Do we nitpick at our spouse or yell at him and the kids? Do we spend so much time worrying about the kids that we neglect our marriages or even ourselves? How many times have I skipped personal scripture study because I read with the family?
We can't be paranoid, but we can't just assume that having a spiritual fence up means we're safe from Satan. Even the prophet and apostles are not immune to him. Let's be careful to not be these people:
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. 2 Nephi 28:21

And if you have chickens or ever plan to get some, protect and watch them like you would a 9 month old.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Plan Meals and Use Up Food to Show Gratitude to God

That's right.  I belive we can show gratitude to God by using the blessings we've been given instead of throwing out that perfectly good grilled chicken because we forgot about it.  Now in the interest of not being hypocritical, you should know I took an entire bag of grapes out to the chickens this morning because I forgot about them.  It was very wasteful and I was very ticked at myself.  Here's how I'm combating this thriftless habit of mine.
We've been massively organizing our home over here at the Small House.  Part of that has been adding cleaning charts, and rearranging things to make them easier to use/keep organized.  I'm writing about it more at that blog (because that's the kind of stuff I blog about), but I wanted to show one of my favorite new things here.  One of the most helpful things has been the addition of this whiteboard.  It helps me keep the food organized. 

 I labeled it like a restaurant board because it made it more fun and less chore-like for me.  For the days of the week and the titles I used wet-erase marker and I use dry erase for the rest so I can easily wipe it off without having to rewrite everything.  We have a couple of meal traditions that make planning easier like Sunday brinner and pizza Tuesday.  The rest I decide as I see what we have and what needs to be used (I have extra sausage from Sunday so were' having egg & sausage muffins tomorrow), and what's on sale. 
My favorite has been where we write leftovers.  We keep all food storage containers above the dishwasher which is to the right of the board.  We put the food in, then write what's in the container with dry erase (why didn't I think of this before?!  It comes right off!) and then write it on the board.  When the container is emptied and goes into the dishwasher (again, right by the board) we erase what's written on it (usually with a finger) and then erase it off the dry erase board.  Viola! (pretend I know how to type the accent mark)
I felt we needed a picture so here's a drenched chicken happily full of worms coming up from the wet earth

I detest wasting perfectly good food, especially when I want so much to keep our grocery bill down.  Now when I notice something needs to be used, like the starting-to-go-limp-broccoli, I add it to the menu.  We're eating better and I'm buying less because we're using more.  Except for grapes.
I'm thinking I need to make room for a list of fruit we have that I assume will be snacked on, but then isn't, so I no longer throw out delicious grapes I get at amazing prices.
It's still in progress, but I'm already seeing improvement in my attitude towards cooking and buying food and the family likes knowing what to expect for dinner.
I wanted to add this awesome except from a Relief Society newsletter from 1875 I read here (you have to scroll down a ways so I'm adding it here as a block quote to save you time because I love you).  Though nearly 150 years old, I find it quite apropos for our society today and something to which I want to give more thought.  Hopefully minus the self-inflicted guilt trip; forget not to be patient with myself :), right? 

Is wastefulness a sin? If so, how very guilty in this respect are Americans as a people. Living has been so easy in nearly all portions of this country, food so plentiful and so readily obtained, that little or no care has been manifested by the great mass of people as to how or whence it came.
People are lavish of fuel, lights, material for clothing, and indeed, whatever Is employed in keeping house, throwing away in preparation nearly as much as is made use of, and using twice as much as is needed of almost everything.
Servants and children follow in the footsteps of their masters and parents, and learn to waste and destroy enough to support largo communities in good style if what is thrown away could be judiciously put to use. Miserly covetousness is worse than despicable, but to save and make some use of every last article, even the smallest bit of rag that may be ground up and made into paper, is in no wise mean, but would be honorable in the wives and daughters of millionaires as well as of mechanics or laborers.
The great Creator has placed around His children the numberless varieties of beauty and use to cheer and gladden their lives, but not that they should become idle and indifferent over them by being abundantly blessed with the good things of the earth.
In the midst of luxury, we should seek to cultivate simple habits which are the greatest producers of genuine happiness, longevity and usefulness. Children should be taught to be less self-indulgent and more industrious than many are, and women should at least superintend their own households and see that nothing is left to go to waste which might be beneficial to some one of our Father’s creatures, if not to themselves.
No bread tastes so sweet as that which is fairly earned ,and no poverty can be so stinging and mortifying as that which comes of carelessness and extravagance. Live prudently and within your means is an excellent rule to hold to.


 


Saturday, October 8, 2011

End of Another Week

I'm ditching Facebook. It's a time-suck for me, and if Elder don't-remember-his-name-from-the-Seventy is right and I have to give a strict accounting of my time, I don't want to get to the pearly gates and say, "I spent 400 hours of my life checking facebook statuses without contributing to anybody's lives."

This week I fell asleep in the car and got in an accident. It was minor, thankfully. We were both stopped at a red light, and I dozed off and my foot slipped off the pedal. I bumped his car and woke up. Thankfully he was really gracious and isn't contacting insurance or filing a police report, I just gave him enough money to get his bumper fixed.

PSA: DON'T DRIVE WHILE DROWSY. It wasn't late, either. It was noon. To all you young moms, get enough sleep! Take naps! And if you're drowsy, don't kid yourself. Pull over and do jumping jacks, or get a soda, or something.

Other things this week; I take things too seriously and do not do enough fun things with my husband. Yesterday I went to the gym with him and it was such a blast! We enjoyed spending time together out of the house without the kids. Obviously this isn't something we can do very frequently with young kids who need us, but whenever we can manage it we need to do it more!

And now? The farmer's market. And cleaning my ridiculously filthy house. Holy cow, how does it get SO NASTY SO FAST?