Watch Your Step


April continues to have it in for me. Monday night, I was coming down the stairs in the dark, to tell my oldest to come upstairs for bed. A few steps down, I stepped on something warm and squishy. The thing moved, my foot had no purchase, I went out into space, then landed on my wooden steps and bumpity-bumped down the rest of them to the landing, yelling “GODDAMN IT!” the whole way. My right side took the brunt of it, especially my upper thigh. Big ol’ nasty bruise. Ugh, it was so awful. It felt like it was happening in slo-mo but I couldn’t stop any of it.

The thing on the step was my dim-bulb 13-year-old cat. I have been worried about this for years, and it finally happened. She likes to just sit on the stairs in random spots, her colors make her blend in, and she is slow to get out of your way.

Thank God that I didn’t break anything, and that it didn’t happen it to one of the kids. But I was so sore and bruised yesterday.

Bruised or no… the gardening had to go on, because my strawberry plants arrived in the mail and I had to get them planted.


The weather has been great for the past several days. It was a lovely weekend — I blew off swim lessons Saturday so we could go to the Collingswood Green Festival and to a big yard sale. At the festival, I was excited to meet Gwenne Baile, the local “chicken lady” who spearheaded the movement in a neighboring town to get a pilot backyard chicken program approved. I may yet get further involved in the Collingswood chicken movement… we shall see.


I also picked up some free plants and seeds, and the kids enjoyed themselves making “seed bombs” — milkweed seeds in dirt that you can toss anywhere and water. Monarch butterflies like milkweed.

Later, I bought some garden soil and potting soil and got runner beans, lettuce, and more broccoli planted. Doesn’t sound like much, but a lot of work involved — getting the dirt from my car to the yard, planting, setting up and securing the bird netting, and finally watering. I bought a soaker hose but I’m not sure yet where/how I will use it.

I also thinned the arugula and added the thinnings to my salad Sunday evening. Delicious!

Other wins: made lots of chicken stock from an organic rotisserie chicken last week, and used the leftover meat to make chicken salad. Tasty lunch for hubs and me. Tuesday, I had four peaches I needed to do something with, so I tried a mini peach cobbler (I quartered this recipe). It was yummy, I thought (kids tasted it and did not like it), and super easy.

Last night, due to all my bruised and pulled muscles, or my still-hurting throat, or who knows, I felt pretty out of it. So the kids had grilled cheese for dinner. Was contemplating takeout, but pulled it together enough to pick more arugula and make another salad for dinner (and peach cobbler for dessert). That was probably the most meaningful win this week.

Fails: I had a couple apples sitting around that for various reasons I knew no one was going to eat (child takes one nibble, then, “This apple is too yellow… I only like red apples.”). So I made applesauce in the Crock-Pot. Yay! Fun and easy! Then I went out to an event and forgot to turn it off. It overcooked by at least 3 hours. Fail!


Anyway… all I want to do is more gardening. I think carrots could go in now, and I have more raised beds to set up and fill… lots more. But the silly laundry and cooking and loading the dishwasher just won’t go away. At least I’ve been able to hang clothes on the line.

On the “eat local” front: in the face of illness, I reverted to some old habits. I’ve been doing pickups from Shop Rite and getting a lot of the old stuff I used to get. But I’m still investigating. I have a list of “best practices” going with regard to everything we buy. A sort of plan for ideal eat-local grocery habits. I’m going to do a full separate post on that (I think I’ve been saying this for three weeks).

One thing I’ve been pretty good about  lately is avoiding fast food, at least up until last week when we had the school fundraiser at Chick Fil A. (And Tuesday night, when we went to Wendy’s after getting haircuts. Too bruised to cook! I swear! And it was a fundraiser for something else.) But I can tell it’s having an impact because the kids have been whining about not going, and then I found this piece of propaganda:


I keep telling them they can ask their grandparents to take them. That’s what grandparents are for!

Today, we are having solar panels installed, which is pretty exciting. We will be paying less for electricity once it’s done. We used this company. On the money front, I had a surplus for March, mostly due to a surplus from February that carried over. I was a little high on my categories, especially groceries. I blame the fact that I spend more time at Whole Foods now, paying their higher prices and buying some of their goodies that I don’t technically need like sushi, exotic mushrooms, and a “chocolate pudding croissant” muffin (OMG). Our refinance plans totally fell apart, due to a low appraisal, but I’m looking into either getting another appraisal and trying again later to refinance, or challenging our property taxes. Right now I’ve got high property taxes based on a very high assessment, way more than what we owe. Yet it won’t appraise enough to cover a basic refinance? Something has to give.

I’ve been on the computer the past three mornings for 2-3 solid hours each time, doing PTA stuff, trying to finalize our summer trip to Maine, doing budget stuff, blogging, and trying to care of things like this appraisal business. Busy busy, but luckily there has been time in the afternoons for gardening and walking.



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