Is this a continuation of the mild winter we've had or the actual start of spring? I can't be sure, but the robins are back and crocuses are sprouting under the apple tree. Barring a snow/ice storm anytime between now and June, which is bound to happen, we're playing along with the warmer weather and longer days just like it's actually spring.
There's a possibility that Keith is going to take a job that will take him out of state for a good portion of the summer, so I have been thinking about a) what I am going to do to stay occupied and b) a garden.
A big garden like we've done in the past is not something I feel comfortable tackling by myself, so when I saw the book One Magic Square at the library I thought that sounded more doable. Plots that are 3'x3' and planted with complimentary veggies - I picked 3 different plots (each with a corresponding fall/winter line-up) and made a list to order seeds.
Which brings us to compost. The poor compost bin has been neglected for a while now and needed some TLC, so last weekend Keith helped me pull all the weeds out of it and give everything a good stir.
Keith and I don't have much in the way of food scraps but my mom does so I enlisted her help in collecting materials. I raked up some leaves to put in there, too and gave it a good watering. There's not enough to use quite yet, but it's a start.
While Keith waits for the drywall mud in the bathroom to dry between coats, we're working on the least developed corner of the house. This is the space that was originally going to be a shower with a half wall diving it from the kitchen counter. Somewhere along the way that plan was revised to include a place for us to actually sit down and enjoy a meal (as opposed to eating in bed which is not too bad once in a while, but gets old) or do work/play Scrabble on a flat surface.
We've always talked about having a booth, like from a restaurant, but they're hard to find and expensive and bulky, so we're making our own out of a nice grade of plywood. I've sanded the bench seat and back smooth and applied 2 coats of tung oil (not tongue oil like I originally imagined when I heard the term, eww). The back will pull forward to allow for storage behind it (on the backside of the barn wood/window wall). Across from the bench is a cabinet we built out of the same kind of plywood that will have a fold-down table attached.
Another good development for ease and comfort is our water bottle hand pump arrived so we took our two Culligan bottles to a spring about a mile and a half up the hill to fill and now we have about 10 days worth of water. Granted, this is not bathing water - mostly it's for drinking and making the occasional batch of cous cous or pot of tea, but it does help us feel a bit more self-sufficient.
I was astonished to read recently that the average person uses over 1,000 gallons of water a day (including the water that is used to make energy and all of the products we consume). There are some very interesting infographics about this here and more info from the National Academy of Sciences here. It's no secret that access to clean water is a struggle that many people all over the world deal with each and every day, so having this free source of good, clean water is not something we take for granted. If anything, I hope this system will help us monitor our usage.