Early Spring Fever

"We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars..."
~ a writing prompt by Jennifer  @ Procrastinating Writers (for more awesome writing prompts, be sure to check out the Write Everyday tool on Procrastinating Writers).

I know that no one wants to consider the tentative financial picture, so I’m not going to go there. I’m going to stay focused, as the saying above suggests- on the stars.
Sometimes it's necessary to look far ahead. Sometimes it's good to look UP.

I cannot account for WHY I seem to have caught an early Spring Fever this year. This week has been brutally frigid – but only 2” of snow (compacted) on the ground -it’s so cold you would think it was at a normal 2 feet!

The sky has been dazzling with it’s abundant winter stars. This week there was a crescent moon, and planets that shone like stars. Wow. I tried to take pictures, lol.

.... I’ve been busy but haven’t gotten a lot done that counts. In no exact order...things I did and things that happened this week –just in case I was getting bored, right?:

-I spent an inordinate amount of time sighing over a farm for sale:
“14 acre Organic Farm- with Apple Orchard for sale in El Guique, NM (45 minutes north of Santa Fe). Farm includes residence, two green houses, and 5,000 sf processing building. Farm was previously a Seeds of Change operation and was Certified Organic.”
You know you want it too.........lol

- discovered 2 blogs – not the typical 'foodie' type, but real home management kinds:
One: meal planning 101 (menu planning) and one, slow-cooker focused. (Both things I really need to get back on top of because I got lazy)
A Year of Crock Potting – Stephani O’Dea made a New Year's resolution to use her crockpot every day for a whole year. On the blog she documents and posted the recipes she made- and has not yet repeated a recipe. (I think that endeavor is incredible. )

-ordered seed catalogues and looked online at several organic seed and plant suppliers- keeping tabs on what from where and price list.

-decided on:
culinary herbs and some medicinal (many are dual purpose – they also attract butterflies)
some veggies and various berries (several that I’d like are hybrids so I will keep looking)
future trees: apricots, figs, apples, apricots, persimmon, cherries (waste of time right now)

-decided NOT to get bees this year. Waiting one more year will enable more propagated Russian sage plants to be established on our property (minor disappointment but finances are just stretched to the wire)

- placed 8 eggs under broody hen (7 of them were from the grocery store egg carton of “cage free” eggs.) I have not checked for fertility like I have the $4 a dozen “organic” eggs I will candle them in 1 week. If not viable then I’ll purchase a $3 chick to give her – whatever is left at the feed store (the black australorps are all gone and I don’t reeeeeally want a Rhode Island red...but oh well!)

-sent a birthday present to my friend (I wish I was her!)

-killed two mosquitoes in the house (yikes – it’s only February!)
-gathered natural pest control ideas/recipes
-read more in-depth and recent info on CME events (solar storms), the updated risk and vulnerabilities (um yeah, they've decided rather than 'hardening' our electrical grids against the real threat of CME damage that they will have time to 'shut them off' - long enough to temporarily avert catastrophe)

 -got particulars on creating raised beds (not building them but the soil, etc.)
-went grocery shopping THREE times -ugh still don’t have anything for this weekend!
-kept up to the minute on what is happening with Greece financials. Sometimes I feel things are so surreal. Like we live in “Orwellian times”. I simply can’t believe some of the things going on. Like Shakespeare is quoted as saying: Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
-read more about chicken care and chicks – and organic and alternative feed, and learned about coccidioses (a protozoan disease condition of unvaccinated chicks)

-wrote a story for my oldest grandson (going on 6), about a Knight and a Pirate - and a terrible “pirate dirty trick” -where the Knight teaches the Pirate a lesson in dirty tricks.
I named the pirate: Captain Barnacle Jones.
“I am ‘The Scourge of the Seven Seas, and Atlantis!’” he brags.
(My daughter wants to illustrate the story when it’s polished so we can gift it to him!  She’s in nursing school and really doesn’t have time to devote to art, but downtime is always spent on drawing projects.)

-wrote some more of "Mustang Diaries", my Western novel with female protagonist, dedicated to my Dad who watches westerns with me and shares his western books
-posted a book review on Amazon (Larry Brooks' "Story Engineering" - LOVE it!)
-watched reruns of "The Office"
-learned how to freeze eggs for longterm storage
-collected info on how to dye material using natural dyes like plants
-started serious work on the 2 window frame art projects (having to scrape and re-caulk the panes, and paint the frames as well as the canvas)
-bought spray paint “for plastic”, in a dark terra-cotta color for growing plants on the deck using a years’ worth of saved coffee containers and water bottles

-read updates from Heidi, the blogger in Greece who is determined to live well despite the recession going on there (she made olive bread this week among other things)
-watched the Republican debates and felt renewed despair for our future
-went over my spring cleaning chore list to decide on when to start that (um, today?)
-reset writing productivity goals that have been on hold (using avoidance measures- like writing things that don’t count like pirate stories...)
-griped about my mouse and keyboard off and on not working right
-realized my Mother's ring is missing (omg- that hurts!)
-started working out (gently)
-challenged my son to running daily together with our dogs (I’ll never keep up with him- my dog is little and 9, his dog is huge and 6 months old as well as he is not even ½ my age... but that’s not the point)
-tried to download pics of my 2008 cell phone but the software doesn’t exist to do it even though we bought a USB transfer cable (GRR!)
-took a few pictures of wildlife, clouds and colors in the sky, my dog, etc., (with my Nikon digital camera)
 He always as to know where I am and what I'm doing!
Tazz is really a golden starman... lol

-reading what ZeroHedge (events behind the scenes that make the world seem surreal), -and John Mauldin have to say (disturbing recent post -in that an eternal optimist like him now feels the need to buy gold as a security measure),
-and check in on the Chris Martensen blog (taken with a grain of salt – I’m really fighting the concept of ‘peak cheap oil’!) Nooooo!

- then everything stopped while I couldn't breathe for 2 days following a bombshell: I found out my Dad has cancer and didn’t tell us & he’s not getting treatment for it (because he’s caretaking for my Mom). I spoke with my brother about how to take care of our parents (that live out of state with a growing list of problems they are increasingly unable to handle). We are now at a crossroads moment...

-wished for summer... and dreamed of second chances

I wish I could condense all that down to something better focused, even focusing on 3 things would be better than being so scattered, but after the bombshell I even forgot to eat lunch the next day so I can tell I’m in a bit of a shock.

So, on setting the bar at cloud level... Since turning 50, I’ve considered starting on a diet I followed in my youth - a low-carb fresh & non-sweets diet regimen for a month.

I used to follow this religiously when I wasn’t cooking for a man from the Midwest... every spring with the start of warm weather. I always felt like it rejuvenated my metabolism, reduced water-weight and inflammation – like a spiritual restart and a body detox that is energizing. It was much easier to get moving/running.

I really, really, need the spiritual restart, as well as a metabolism wake-up call. 
I haven’t indulged in this dietary regimen for at least 15 years now so I’m a bit rusty... and how on earth will I feed the husband -and not cheat myself?

For one month no:
-red meat, wheat/yeast, alcohol, juice (V-8 is OK!), soda, deep-fried anything, and nothing that’s white: no bread, tortillas, pasta, potatoes, rice, sugar, milk (soymilk and almond milk ok if not sweetened), cheese (feta & other goat cheese is OK), no cream or creamer (therefore NO coffee), and no cheating with honey.
This is a killer now- because after the twins I learned to love coffee....with cream and honey! I think I NEEDS it!
I'll TRY to stick to iced tea.

Adding a multi-vitamin w/ iron is good.

It allows for some snacks: seeds and whole grains  (like toasted barley), soy beans, hummus, veggies, pickles, nuts, veggie chips, corn chips and salsas -but not Frito’s!
meals: beans (main ingredient), soup (clear broth), chicken and fish dishes (even fish tacos!), and veggie salads (clear dressings & nuts, fruit, eggs and seeds).
My favorite is Greek salad: large chunks of red tomatoes, kalamata olives and olive oil w/ black pepper. Options include adding red onion and feta cheese, and salt and maybe other herbs.
I think the most difficult to quit on this diet is the carbs!  (then sugars) Maybe because I'm mostly of Norwegian bloodlines I crave those pasta carbs to keep warm in the winter? Whatever it is, it's really hard...

Then after 1 month, gradually add back: yogurt & granola (homemade), fruit muffins (w/ butter, honey, applesauce), cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and ICE-CREAM and  and cold cereals, then breads like pita, and rice....

The first ‘real’ meal will be something similar. I like grilled beef, lamb or chicken (flattened or kabobs) in whole wheat pita bread with Tzaziki & tomato/kalamata w/ olive oil, or tomato/cucumber/red pepper dressed with lemon juice, oregano & pepper.
I TRY not to revert back to the carb-heavy eating habits too quickly...
SO this is the plan for March. 

Hopefully I’ll be too busy looking up to notice I’m suffering.

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