Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Day in My Life

I've been lurking on this site, by Rhonda Jean, for quite a while, and really enjoy reading about her approach to a simple lifestyle. Her site led me to another site yesterday, this one by Little Jenny Wren, where she plans to document her activity on the 14th of each month. Others have joined in, and I thought I'd try it too. Since I saw the post too late to document the 14th, I've been taking notes today.

I didn't sleep very well last night, and was very surprised when I opened my eyes this morning and saw that it was already 9 am. The sun shining on my face has been waking me about 7:30, but we had a dusting of snow come through last night and the skies were still dark and grey. I got up and put a sweater on over my pajamas. The dog wanted out, but the cat wasn't moving from the foot of the bed. As usual, Aries had let the chickens out and brought the newspaper in before he left for work at 7.

I made myself my usual winter breakfast - 1 cup of water, a chopped Fuji apple (stored in the cellar since last fall, a few brought in to the refrigerator weekly), a spoonful of peanut butter, 1/2 cup rolled oats, and a spoonful of ground flaxseed mixed with cinnamon; brought to a boil, put a lid on and turn the heat off, let set for 5-10 minutes, add milk to taste; and went round the house opening the shades and blinds to let in the natural light. Let the dog back in, dish up my cereal, leave the pan to soak, and sit down to eat and read the paper.

10 am: I rinse the dish and stack it in the sink to wash later, scrub out the pan, and wipe down the stove and counter tops. The sun has come out finally and the rooster is making a racket, so I step out onto our east-facing deck to see what's going on and what the day looks like. It's going to be cold, windy, and probably more snow flurries, so I decide against my plan to walk up the canyon. I go back inside and get dressed, in blue jeans and a turtleneck, chase the cat off the bed, and flip the covers back to air.

I used to straighten and make the bed every morning, until I started living in a wood-heated house with an unheated waterbed. Instead of having electric currents under our bed, we padded the mattress with a couple of blankets and a mattress cover, topped that with a featherbed mattress, and snuggled in under a down comforter. In the morning, I'd fluff up all the bedding and flip the featherbed up to air during the day and then straighten the bed in the evening. When the waterbed finally cracked on a corner and started to leak a few months ago (after 25 years), we bought a pillowtop mattress. We stopped using the featherbed, but our winter down comforter traps so much warmth during the night that I still prefer airing the bed during the day in the wintertime.

I go outside, scoop the ice out of the bird bath, and make sure the chickens have enough water. The guineas come running up to beg for bird seed as I fill the feeders for the wild birds. I come back inside, turn on the computer to check my email, read some comics we don't get in our local paper, edit and add a photo to yesterday's blog post, and scan a couple of blogs. The phone rings, and it's the local blood bank, asking if I will make an appointment to donate blood. They have openings today, so I make an appointment for 1:30 this afternoon.

11 am: At my computer, I see two women in dresses come up to the front door. They're canvassing for their religion. I listen to their brief spiel, accept their flyer for upcoming Easter services, and tell them they should have coats and gloves to be out in this weather. I feel a bit sorry for their shoes as I watch them walk out my driveway, their high heels sinking into the sand. Just as they're walking down the street to a parked car and others waiting, the snow starts falling again. The sun has moved away from the eastern picture window and the inside temperature has dropped to 59ยบ, so I start a fire in the wood stove.

A lot of our firewood comes from pallets Aries brings home from work. I crumple some newspaper, split up a couple of the cross pieces for kindling with an old Henckels cleaver, and add a couple of bigger pieces. One match, and shut the door. I fill the cast iron pan on top with water, and go back to my computer.

Noon: The snow has stopped again. I make a pot of coffee (decaf, since I'll be giving blood) in my little 2.5-cup coffee maker, heat a cup of milk in the microwave, and add it to the coffee. I drink half now, and pour the rest into a thermos for later. I go outside to take a couple of photos for today's post. Lunch is a peanut butter with strawberry jam (made by a friend) sandwich and a few tortilla chips.

1 pm: I load up the wood stove and change into a shirt with sleeves that can easily be rolled up. The dog and the cat are in their usual position, bellies to the fire, when I leave to drive across town to the blood bank.

I've given blood ever since my Dad had his first heart bypass operation and my whole family went in together to pay back what they used for him. I've had to defer donations for 12 months whenever my travels have taken me to malaria regions, but the blood bank keeps track of when I'm eligible again and always gives me a call. The last few times, I've given two units of red blood cells at a time. They give some of the liquid part back to you, and while it takes longer at the time, they can only do it every 16 weeks. It counts as 2 pints, and today's donation makes 6 gallons total from me, so they give me a little commemorative pin.

3:30 pm: On the way home, I stop at Lowe's to see if they have any of the garden seeds I want. I get three kinds of peas, pole beans, and radishes. When I get home, I go out to see if there are any eggs. Baldy is setting in one of the nest boxes, and I find two eggs underneath her. I apologize for disturbing her, take the eggs, leave the golf balls (decoy eggs), and leave her setting there. If she stays broody, I might try slipping some day-old chicks from the feed store under her in 3 weeks, and see if she'll foster them. She's one of Missy's crossbreeds, and I don't want any more of those - they're a fence-flying, nest-hiding bunch. I go back in, get the fire in the stove going again, and go out to bring in the mail.

4 pm: I don't watch too much TV, but one of my favorite shows is on now on Saturdays - Doctor Who. It's one I haven't seen, so I sit down with the other cup of coffee to watch. Oooh, this one has scarecrows coming to life and menacing people - maybe I don't want one in my garden after all. Aries comes home from work about 4:40 so I hear about his day during the commercials.

5:15 pm: The magazine I was flipping through while waiting to leave the blood bank had shrimp recipes. I have some shrimp in the freezer, so decide to make my healthy version of Shrimp Creole for dinner.

6 pm: Aries opens up a bottle of the Nut Brown Ale he made a few months ago to go with his dinner. I stick to water - I'm a couple pints low now and don't think I could handle any alcohol. We watch the new Torchwood on TV as we eat.

7 pm: After dinner, I rinse the dishes and wipe down the kitchen. I go out and close up the chicken coop for the night. Aries is watching an old Harold Lloyd movie on TV and I start on this monster post.

10:30 pm: I'm still fighting with Blogger's tendency to put spaces where I don't want them and leave out the ones I do want, and getting my photos to fit where I want them. Aries is getting sleepy, so I'm going to go make the bed for him and be back to finish this up.

11:20 pm: I figured out what I needed to do, and have cleaned up the bugs in this post (I hope!). I reset the min/max thermometer (low of 25, high of 42 today), and entered the info in the Garden Journal. We've gotten another dusting of snow since dinnertime. I've laid down the draft dodger against the back door, and locked all the doors. The house is quiet. I'll do a few stretches, brush my teeth, wash my face, and throw a couple more pieces of wood in the stove. I'll be in bed about midnight.

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