Saturday, May 30, 2009

Baking, Farmer's Market and Gardening

I'm baking a loaf of half-white, half-wheat long rise sourdough and mincemeat kuchen. It was intended as apple chutney kuchen, but I changed my mind at the last minute. Saturday always feels like such a day of accomplishment, since I get the baking done just as soon as Matins, sometimes before.

Once the baking is done, we'll go to the farmer's market to buy some fresh veggies and pastured meat. I just love using eggs from chickens that scratch around in the dirt. Plus, the greens and browns are so pretty in the carton. Add the dark orange yolks into the experience, and it's hard to go back to supermarket white shells with pale yellow yolks. Hopefully, we can make this transition permanent.

I've got some new seedlings to put out into the garden today. I suspect that only the tomatoes will flourish, but possibly my peppers will thrive, too. So far, only one head of lettuce has come up, but maybe this weeks seeds will produce. I've been much luckier with my peas. The grapes are adjusting well.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Out for fun

We'll be out for a good bit, today. We're going to play group for the boys in the morning, then home for a nap, then out again for swimming after the nap. With luck, I'll get some time in for sewing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Much accomplished

After a busy day yesterday, I have much accomplished. I'm beginning to get caught up with my duties, and back into my pleasurable work. Today, I have only routine shopping, and daily duties in which to attend. With luck, I can devote more time to needlework and other projects.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Extra help for extra projects

I've fallen a bit behind in my tasks, so I'll be receiving a bit of help with the boys this morning. Hopefully, I can catch up with my goals for the Cottage. There is some planting of peas to be done, such that we can have more peas throughout late July, baking brownies that never got made over the weekend and the new sling for the baby. Late this afternoon, I will most likely take the boys swimming, and won't be here at the Cottage to accomplish anything. It's worth it to take away from my work, for the therapeutic value to my older son.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fixing the Soap Dispenser

I fixed our kitchen hand soap dispenser. While not the most pressing of issues, it has been a lesson in perseverance and frugality. When we moved into the Cottage, the dispenser had been broken for who knows how long. I could have gone to the hardware store, and purchased a new one. Instead, I made do with another dispenser and just waited until I could arrange the soap system better. I'm so glad I did. For the second dispenser also broke just recently. However, I was able to see through the clear plastic, and realize how the fault occurred. I thought it likely that the same catch had occurred with the first one. That is, granular matter lodged within the spring mechanism. I soaked both dispensers for quite some time, and tried to force as much water inside each. After a time, the water dissolved the matter, and now both work well. Since I used the left over water from washing dishes, the cost to me was nil. I now can transfer the plastic dispenser to the bathroom, and have liquid hand soap there, too. Of course, I now prefer the soap from the Dunbar Mercantile - just a little irony to brighten my day.

After summer fun, a return to work

Early summer is a time of hard work, but we have had a bit of respite. A barbecue and a baseball game give respite during this time of labor. The garden has just begun to produce peas. There's still planting, and weeding and nurturing. Then, there's the children and the house. At some point, there's ironing, and projects and baking all awaiting attention. Whoever spoke of the "lazy days of summer, " was not a mother of young children.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Today, we're away from the Cottage at my brother-in-law's house for a party.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baking bread; planting vines

So far this morning, I've baked a loaf of honey butter sourdough bread, made bacon and eggs for the Vintner's breakfast with coffee and gone to the farmer's market. Now, it's time for the toddler's pancakes, baby's nap, laundry and gardening. We have planting the vines and weeding, along with hanging out the laundry for late morning. This afternoon, we'll go to the dairy store, to buy a replacement American flag and bake brownies after the toddler's nap. The Vintner had extra work away from home, so I'll attending to this on my own. Saturdays are busy times for us.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why a Cottage Vineyard and not a Vineyard Cottage?

The Vintner will be home for a long weekend beginning this evening. I'll have some extra work today, to clean up the Cottage. Usually, on Mondays, I make time to tidy up from the weekend, but I won't get the chance next week. I'll have to do that on Tuesday, and there will be three days of tidying to do. We have no special fun plans, but only extra work here. The Vintner is in high need of some time away from the office and some extra time in the vineyard.

It is a very special time in the vineyard, too. This weekend is the time that we will plant our first two vines. They have been acclimating to their home since about the time I started this blog. Indeed, the blog is about their progress. When we purchased this little Cottage, I prayed over Proverbs 31. I promised God that if he saw fit to place us here, that I would plant a tiny vineyard in glory to Him. Our Cottage is not a small home within a vineyard, but rather more in the sense of a "cottage industry." That is, it's so small of a plot for a vineyard as to need a special qualifier as to how small it is. Thus, "cottage" was the most quaint, the most twee word I thought appropriate.

The ultimate goal of the vineyard is to give thanks to God for all his blessings. The more minor goal is to cease purchasing wine for the Vintner, and allow him to bottle his own, to be self-sufficient in regards to wine. Next, would be for a small income from the wine to be self-supporting in the bottling process. Finally, we'd like a token presence in the local shops, and to make our cottage vineyard a true cottage industry for our home. This is a long-term process. We're only just now planting, and it will take years for our vines to mature. It will take even longer to develop our wine. Since what we are really doing is building our family and home, the slow progress is appropriate. We must have patience, both for rearing children and for raising vines. Our marriage must be nurtured just as slowly and deliberately as our grapes. The glory to God's Grace and Mercy cannot occur overnight. This vineyard is part of the cottage industry that allow me to a keeper at home. Even though we are beginning so small, and may never have a "proper vineyard," our service is to God.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Third Thursdays

On the Third Thursday of the month, our schedule is altered. Instead of just running errands, we also attend a meeting in the morning. That pushes our errands to the afternoon, and makes for a busy day. It's a challenging day as far as organizing goes, but it's a testament to how much organizing improves our day. It used to be that the meeting threw off our schedule so much, that nothing else could be accomplished. Now, we can fit it all into the day.

How did we get so organized? Well, the boys getting older was a big help. There's no magic with a newborn in the house; those are busy days. Once we passed that phase, matins was our key. Beginning the day with prayer, worship, a chapter of Proverbs and a New Testament Passage sets us off on the right foot. From there, we've been able to gradually add in more tasks, duties and activities, one at a time. Matins is the magic!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Project Day

Wednesday is Project Day here at the Cottage. Ostensibly, that means needlework projects, but it's more than that. It's the one day reserved for tasks that need to be done weekly, monthly, seasonally and yearly. Of course, those sometimes bleed into other days, or fit better elsewhere. However, I found that if I didn't set aside specific times to address larger projects or infrequent duties, then I'd get too bogged down in the daily work to get to them. I also think of it as my day to sharpen knives - a metaphor for sharpening my mind and my homemaking skills, well, and literally sharpening the knives in the kitchen.

Today, I need to begin work on the new sling for the baby. I need to sharpen knives. The windows could use a little washing, at least one or two. I could go on and on with making the list, but I should stop there. If the list is too long, then I'll get overwhelmed and not start. Plus, there's always next Wednesday. It's not like the projects are the only things needing attending today; there are still daily duties, like child care and cooking that are done regardless of the day of the week or year.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Tuesday is our Ironing Day. I suppose I really don't need a whole day devoted to this task. I have an electric iron, and most of our clothing is knit wear. Even so, it's my favorite day, because ironing is my favorite duty. I wouldn't mind hours of ironing. Today I'll be doing two shirts, the fabric for an upcoming sewing project and napkins. I don't really have to do any of it, but I enjoy it so much.

We'll also be gone to a day game of minor-league baseball for much of the day. The boys should be exhausted after an outing with grandparents and mom. I expect a nice nap from them both, and I'll get my time then. If not, then I'll get in my pleasurable duty in the late afternoon. The Vintner will work late today, and pick up his own supper on the way home. He appreciates one night a week where he decides the menu. Therefore, I'm freed up from my supper cooking for his meal. As much as I love cooking, too, I defer to his comfort. I'll have a chance to replace one pleasure for another then. Even if I get my ironing done before then, I still have needlework to do. I may even get time to start that sewing project, of which I'll be ironing the fabric today. Such is the joy of our Tuesdays at the Cottage.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Washing and Wandering

On Monday, we have much washing to do. Since we have had so much spring rain, we haven't been able to hang our laundry out in a few days. It's piled up, and there's sunshine all day. While I could spend the whole morning catching us up, we have a therapy appointment for the boys. Instead, I'll spend that time driving all around, out and about. Then, there's tidying up and organizing after the weekend - the other Monday duty. Perhaps I'll get a break and catch my breath as the boys nap this afternoon.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Worship and Family

Today is our Family Day at the cottage. It's the day for worship, family and charity needlework. Other than the most basic work, preparing meals, there's no work today. It's time for silence.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cleaning Day and Morning Calls

Friday is Cleaning Day at the Cottage Vineyard. In addition, we also pay (or host) our Morning Calls. Of course, we don't use such an old-fashioned term outside this blog, but it's the same practice. It's a social day, as well as cleaning up to get ready for the weekend. We'll also have time to get ready for Saturday's baking. It's a busy day, and occasionally I have additional shopping, if the outing takes us to a convenient location. I don't do all the shopping on Thursday, just because it's Thursday. I consolidate trips, to save time and fuel.

Cleaning is not what it once was, before children. Jane Austen said it best in "Persuasion": "A lady, without a family, was the very best preserver of furniture in the world." Now that I have two small boys, my furniture, and home, are not quite kept in the standard to which they were formerly. Perhaps, this blog will be just the impetus I need to return to my former ways.

Our social schedule easily removes two, or more, hours available from other tasks. When considering the other every day activities, Friday is easily one of the busiest days of the week. It's also going to be a test as to how much more organization can add to the productivity.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shopping Day

Thursday is Shopping Day at the Cottage Vineyard. Today is the day for out-and-about errands, and not too much time at the cottage. The best part is returning home, and seeing what a beautiful home it is. From the inside, I sometimes forget how fortunate I am. When I see it from the outside, I remember my blessings.