Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Winter of My Content

Before I get into today's post, I just wanted to thank you all again for the wonderful comments left on the Weigh In Wednesday post. I felt very vulnerable writing all of that, and you were all so kind. I felt like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" when all the townspeople were bringing him money, and he realized he indeed had 'A Wonderful Life'.


Thanks too, for coming back after seeing Helen in a diaper, and realizing I'm completely bonkers. Helen is still in the house, fattening up. Not for soup silly, but just to be able to handle the winter better. I'm thinking I'll slip her back in the coop on Tuesday night, when it's going to be warmer. I'm actually gonna miss that bird brain. She's comical and believe it or not, good company. I realize I need a life, so please don't remind me.
The diapers aren't nearly as disgusting since her poop is solid again.
Oh gosh, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about it.

Last but not least, thank you for sending me emails wanting to know where I've been the last few days! I appreciate being missed.
I'm still fighting this cold, and started homeschooling back this week, and my time has been limited.

I thought I'd catch you up to snuff on how my 'Quest for a Simple Life' has been going.
I'm quite pleased. It's still not perfect, but much less imperfect.
I'm finding a balance.

I think I've used two pieces of plastic wrap in the last two weeks. There always seems to be alternatives if you take a minute to think about it. I treat Ziploc bags like gold, and carefully wash and reuse them.

I can't live without paper towels. Forgive me. I've tried. I'm cutting way back, but I can't sleep if there isn't at least one roll in the house.

I'm extremely conscious of how much waste I throw away. I'm trying to figure out ways to by things now with less packaging.

I haven't had a Diet Coke in I don't know how long. Don't miss it much.

My goal of only leaving the house once a week has been extremely easy to adhere to. In fact, I can almost not leave the house for 10 days and be totally fine with it. This week, I do have a few things to do that will involve going out among the English.
That's fine.
It's not a law, it's just a goal to drive less, spend less, and be more conscious about running around when it's not necessary. I'm realizing how many things I did, that I felt like I 'had' to do to please others.
Again, not perfect, but less imperfect.

I did go to town last Wednesday. I laugh when I read that 'go to town'. It sounds like I hitch up the horses and take a days trip to get yard goods and 25# bags of flour. The funny thing is, that's almost how it feels now. I proclaim loudly 'Aaron, go start up the Jeep, we're goin' to town', and then let out an Indian war cry.

Whilst in town last Wednesday, I stopped at the organic/herbal market in town. I'm still freaking out about meat a little bit. I thought I could find a source for local, organic, humane meat. Well, I found that source, but at $10 a pound for chicken, it's not happening.

I'll just eat less meat.

What strikes me the most is how happy I've been.
I'm so danged content.
I don't feel nearly as restless and frustrated.

Yesterday, while I was recuperating from this darn head cold, I read a couple of books. I use the term 'read' loosely. I read one.
This one:

Lessons from an Accidental BeeKeeper

If you are at all interested in beekeeping, I highly recommend it.
I can barely wait to get my bees now!

I skimmed these:

In the book by Thoreau "I to Myself" I read this:

"The alert and energetic man leads a more intellectual life in winter than in summer....

and to the healthy man, the winter of his discontent never comes"

I'm already fretting that winter won't be long enough for all the things I'd hoped for it to be. Time to work on the dollhouse, time to deep clean, time to organize photos, and music, time to read, time to knit, embroider, learn how to use my loom, and perfect my pie crust. Time to catch up on movies, and naps, and old friends and mending.

Before long it's going to be time to start seeds and sharpen the hoe.

But for now, I'm going to continue the Winter of my Content, keeping chickens in diapers in the kitchen, reading books until my brain seams pop, knitting and sewing as fast as my hands will allow, and living as simply as I can.

It truly is A Wonderful Life.


  1. Thank you for the cool post Jayme. I was entering into withdrawals and then complaining about "where are you?" to Rho. It seems like you're on target with your "want to less" if that makes sense.
    Do you think the others will accept Helen after she's been so humanized? Really, why can't she stay in? I knew a lady in Fla. years ago who kept a very full sized hog in her kitchen. It was her watchdog she told me as I stood at the door refusing to go into her house. Think on that for awhile and maybe Helen could be a house companion. :)
    I could stay in my house forever I think. I love my house and am perfectly content staying in. We try to wrap all of our errands into one day and then hit it. I don't understand folks who get "cabin fever" but I'm older now so maybe that has something to do with it.
    Good on ya for the weight and staying consistent with it. I've just started juicing and it's different. You've truly inspired me!

  2. You're the second person this week who has mentioned the book Honeybee. Guess I'm going to want to read that one, too! I have already bought my hive, bee suit, and gear, but I've decided to wait to purchase the actual bees because m cottage is for sale. Doesn't make sense to move new bees. BUT, I will get bees the first season I can after I get a new place!

    Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver. I'm probably the last person on earth to get to this title, but I just started it and am fascinated already.

    Well, I'm off to read for the rest of the day! Yahoo!

  3. Jayme,
    I'm so glad that you're CONTENT! I agree with Linda, will the other gabby girls with their dramatic clicques (like high school) accept her back into their presence?
    Still figuring out how to get that windmill to you....

  4. Hi Jayme - So glad to see you're back. We've missed you. You mentioned that you own a loom. How I envy you. I majored in textiles when I was in college. My favorite elective was weaving. Warping it can be tedious, if I remember correctly. Anyway, lucky you. I second the suggestion of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I loved reading it. Got me back to thinking about canning again. Very thought provoking book. Hope you're free of that nasty cold very soon, and have a wonderful week.

  5. I so look forward to our posts, Jayme! They make me feel comfortable, somehow, with life. And this one shares your contentedness with us, and I need that! THANKS!

  6. jayme,

    soooo good to read about your winter of content! that is truly how i see my winter this year. i have been waiting for winter and i, too,
    hope it to be long. living in sd, you just don't say that too often! people wonder... i am also trying to be as green as i can! i don't like going to town so that is an easy way to be green for me. i'm trying to give up plastic as much as i can and also paper towels. i guess i really got into it watching oprah's earth day show last year. i was shocked into action! now if i could get my husband to jump on the bandwagon! i am excited to hear about your bees. i sooo want bees and my husband says no! party pooper! like the chickens! (it's far from over, on both counts!) i also want a donkey and/or an angora goat, or sheep. i have a barn so that's a start! anyway, love, love, love your blog! have a wonderful day, and the best winter of content you can have!!!


  7. Hey there Jayme.

    We use NO paper towels in our house, but instead have an endless supply of blue OR towels. These little numbers get thrown away by the hospital, so Hubbs brings all unused ones home and we use and reuse and reuse. They are virtually lint free and are good for any task a paper towel would be used for. If you want some....I can "hook you up" me if you want.


  8. You're awesome. Believe it or not, I've been trying to remind myself every say, 2 seconds that I don't "need" this thing or the other.

    It's becoming really clear really fast that I just don't "need" much.

    I'm actually enjoying the winter too, helps having snow. It's the gray, bland days that drive me crazy just before the spring pops up.

  9. Jayme your posts mean so much to me. They are insightful, funny and you are trying to accomplish some of the same things I am. I am looking forward to the spring, but I am also perfectly contend with our now and winter. Since we had our "snow days" I have only left the house once and it hasn't bothered me one bit. Keep posting, I miss you when your "gone". Hope you feel better soon!

  10. Sorry to hear about the cold. Craig's theory is that in order to get rid of a cold, you have to give it to someone else... found any takers? Since we work from home we go the whole week without leaving. I like it, too. You know that I'm not much of a shopper, so where is there to go, anyway? hee hee. I confess that I'm looking forward to it warming up enough to at least get our fishing on the lake. We like to eat fish, too. Hugs to Helen!

  11. So, what is the Bee Book exactly about? How to keep bees, and equipment, or the uses of bees (honey, wax, lip balm)? And, are you really going to get bees for yourself?

  12. Such a difference between "want" and "need". 2010 is definitely going to be the year of contentment and discipline for me!! I haven't had a diet Dr. Pepper in days, but I have to admit I would like to have one but I know it will pass. I am on day 6 of no sugar or white flour and I am amazed at how good I feel and how the cravings are subsiding. I am a nester and I love to be home. There's no place like home! Stay with it, we are going to be skinny chickadees next year at this time!!


  13. The quest for Winter contentment - such a worthy pursuit! And it sounds like you've pretty much got it in the bag.

    When you go to town, are you always sure to stop by the Mercantile? That Harriet is such a rascal, isn't she?

    ps - I want bees!!!!!! And chickens. Maybe.

    pss- Did you ever read The Secret Life of Bees? It's fiction, but has fun beekeeping facts woven throughout. The movie was actually very good, too, but not as good as the book, per usual.

  14. I know exactly what you mean about winter ending too soon. There is so much I want to do and HAVE to do to prepare for The Bees and I fear time running away too quickly.

    I'm glad you're feeling content. I think a lot of that may have to do with your different outlook towards weight loss. I've been mulling that post over and over in my head and looking it at from every angle I can and you know, I don't think I've read anything that makes more sense than what you wrote. Focusing on what you can or can't eat, generally making yourself miserable isn't the answer to anything. I also liked the idea of hunger...what IS wrong with a little hunger? I've been working on that in the afternoons, realizing being really hungry before getting home for dinner is a good thing!

    Now, the bees thing. I think I have to get a license for the darn things! Do you?


  15. Boy do I feel like a dofus! You should read my last post. It's all complaining about the weather and winter etc. I like the way you put it. We just moved to the country in July. We're about 8 miles from the nearest town of 800 people, 7 of those miles are gravel. An hour from "real" towns. I've been going a little crazy.

    We've got 7 hens and they're still laying 2-3 eggs/day. Love your blog :)

  16. Hey Jayme...have you ever had a yearnin' to do rug hooking? I REALLY would love to find a source to teach me...but it seems there's nothing on this side of "town".

    That's all that's on my mind for now, but when Leslie comes up with the windmill, we'll meet! ;) {you in numbers! Ha!}

  17. Very sweet post...hope you are feeling better,,,,,I posted your link on my blog roll...add me when you're on the mend...Dianne

  18. a loom? Hilary of Crazy As A Loom blog may be the gal to talk to if you have questions about yours. She's a sweetie so tell her I sent you!

    Get well soon with that cold, oh... and I used to be a goer outer kinda gal but now sometimes I stay in my house for 2 weeks before going anywhere, or until cabin fever gets the best of me.

    Later and keep the great posts coming.

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    (how does one NOT use paper towels??)


  20. You're so...lovable! That's all that comes to mind now. You're just downright lovable, Jayme. And so are your chickens. I hate to go out really. Hate all the noise and traffic and cell phones and such. I like to stay home. Home with the critters. We can crack up together.

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  22. Jaym,

    You and I are always on the same page, but I gotta tell you, I need sunshine, warmth, the smell of banana boat suntan lotion. I have been in the house and don't leave often due to the weather, but if I could afford too, I'd pack up the family and head somewhere warm, I feel my skin begging for a tan. I need to hear someone cutting their lawn, yada yada yada. And after watching Jesse Ventura's findings on going green, I'm pretty sure I'm not to concerned anymore, global warming, yeah right. Anyway, can't wait to see you again I miss our weekly get together's. Almost your birthday, Sugar. Yea! Hugs and Kisses, me

  23. I love hearing about your simpler life and cutting back on wasteful products. We have been brainwashed into being expert consumers. Oug. My Guy and I love our simplier life.

    Glad to hear Helen is doing better and may be back in the coop on Tuesday evening. And, hope you feel well soon!

    Happy back to school to you and Aaron...

  24. Maybe it's the new year or maybe I'm just tired of wanting and wasting but I am feeling like that lately to try and scale back. One way is not to be tempted by going shopping all the time.

    This is to the The Blue Ridge Gal- my daughter never buys paper towels. She uses cloth napkins and for spills uses something from her "rag" drawer. These are old wash cloths, torn up clothing she doesn't use any more. She has been doing this for about three years.

  25. Hi Jayme! I'm already in a panic that spring will come too quick. Good for you for enjoying your winter of content and simpler life. And I'm with Shannan on The Secret Life of Bees. It's sweet.

  26. I am also trying to get things done this winter before warmer weather arrives. Although I won't be gardening and beekeeping like you, hubby will be wanting to ride the bike.
    Ended up sanding the table and chairs to make them shabby chic. Just need to purchase the glaze and antique them a little and they will be finished:D Onward to the china hutch.
    I have stayed home for 2 whole days without even going outside...gasp! Then again it has been frickin cold here.
    take care

  27. I have been staying home more also. Wish I could skip the job that would really keep me home. I know of another blogger that keeps bees if you would like to talk to someone else about your new adventure. We are big gardeners and probably should do that also but I think starting with the chickens this year is step one and about as large of step I want to take in a year. Here is Mrs. C's bloggy address.
    She is also a teacher more that you have in common to talk about.

  28. You guys are the greatest! I'm still shaking my head at the wonder of living without paper towels! I'm going to get the book Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. Sounds very intriguing. Also, I'll get the Secret Life of Bees.

    Thanks to you all! I just remembered, that I was planning on sharing a soup recipe on this post....Duh!

  29. Awesome Inspiring post. And I am LAUGHING too. hee hee. You so funny girl. Love having you as a long distance blogger friend...I know we would be friends if we were neighbors. What with your love of your chickens, homeschooling Aaron, simplifying, and desiring a nestled-in, "content in my own back yard" mindset... Yeah, no doubt, we'd be talkin'
    Stay strong, maintain your moto!
    Loving visiting...
    Have a great week.

  30. Jayme,

    We've both been MIA for a few days. Love your update. It is indeed a wonderful life.


  31. Couldn't help but think of my last talk with the kids on what "contentment" meant. The youngest blurted out..."cows give good milk".
    You're not a cow...but you give good milk.:)

  32. I love that- Going to town. It brings to mind little house on the prairie and makes me feel all happy. I'm not planning on going to town until Thursday so I have 3 whole days to get things done around the house and to have some time for me. I'm excited. But I've no doubt that I will be ready to go on Thursday!

  33. Thanks for visiting my site and you are now on my list of blogs! I love all your wonderful ideas. I am a pre-k teacher and work with low income children. I would love to live like you!! I am a 2nd year bee keeper, hae an organic garden, sew, cook alot, and am addicted to blogging! I only wish my husband, who stays at home, would give up paper towels, he loves them, while I love dish towels and cloth napkins...oh well!

  34. Okay-
    I have to tell you this. I am so TOTALLY jealous of you. I want to be at home doing all that stuff- not leaving the house- or maybe once to go into town. It sounds like a dream.


  35. LOVE your blog I will be back when I have time to sit down and read with a big cup of coffe.

  36. Looks like I have a few new readers! Welcome! Thanks so much for taking the time to write a comment. It flat out makes my day!

  37. Jayme-I got my 2010 McMurrary chicken catalog yesterday! Eye candy! I started making out my chicken wish list last night. What kind of chicken is Helen? I need a Helen.

    Oh, and I'm having a giveaway. Come on over.

  38. These "living simply series" are some of my favorite posts eva! Helen, Thoreau, thrifting, old lady cleavage ~ it IS a wonderful life! Today is cool n overcast and I'm slipping into nesting mode (trying NOT to make it "noshing mode"). Had been mourning the end of a great summer but you have made me almost look forward to winter. THANKS ~ I NEEDED that! <3 Hope you too are enjoying some fun time w/out chore/project overload.


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