Thursday, July 21, 2016

Changes In My Life

The road to my home goes through the state forest.

I have seen many changes in my life over the years. Even if you do not live a long life, that holds true for everyone. Life would be pretty boring if changes did not take place. Looking at a person in their nineties, we often hear remarks of wonder of all they have seen in their lives. I discussed all the changes my father had seen in his lifetime with him often. He loved to talk about it. He was very alert and knowledgeable right to his last days. These conversations with him were some of my favorite conversations with him that I will always treasure.

The pot of gold is my homestead!

In social media we are discussing our favorite periods of our lives often. Someone will post a picture of some item we used in the past asking if you remember using it. Many times that once forgotten item will take me back on what I call my memory train. Back to another time and place. I personally don't have any really bad memories, unless I count as a teen, becoming a single mother and running away from home too scared to tell my parents. That turned out okay though because of my mother, who always made bad situations better. Two other bad periods for me were my two divorces, which is a subject better left buried.

Our Barn

For the most part, changes in my life were many and usually at the time, I felt they were good. I liked change. It was exciting to explore the new things it would bring to my life. One of the biggest changes of course, was moving to my off the grid home in 1999. That was the year everyone was preparing for the year 2000 and what was going to happen due to computers running everything, known as the Y2K. Truthfully, we didn't do much as far as the Y2K was concerned once we moved here. Instead we were busy preparing for winter. No computers. No televisions. In fact, I gave away my own big screen television because I felt even if I could ever power it - it was out of place here.

Cooking and heating water on my wood cook stove.

Was the change good for me? I thought so. Now I think it certainly was. Living with no electric bill for over sixteen years was good indeed. Over the years we have saved thousands of dollars including the cost of our alternative energy system. No cost of fuel for heating, most of the time, except for gas and chainsaws and their parts. I think we have only purchased about four loads of logs in all that time. I haven't figured out how to eliminate propane (for cooking) since I need it for canning. All winter I cook on my wood cook stove, which is my favorite method of cooking. I also use the wood heating stove for cooking and heating water during the winter. One time the propane delivery man asked me, "Don't you cook?" I sure do! I cooked and baked a lot back then. Homemade made from scratch. No processed foods most of the time. I still cook, but don't bake so much now since we eat low carbs.

Our road in winter

In 1999, my husband could cut a tree down and let it fall across the road and not have to hurry because of cars driving by. It was days before we'd see one or two cars go by. Now more and more people are moving from cities to the country. Mainly from NJ, Long Island and NYC in our area. I don't blame them for wanting to leave. It has made us think of looking for a more secluded place. But then again, do I really want to start over again? In our sixties? Right now we are centrally located from several small towns and one small city. Once our two elderly cats are gone, I think the traffic on our road won't be such a big stress point for me.

Peaceful Forest

My most recent change has been doing almost all my shopping online. Yes, even groceries and household products. It is easier for me to find what I need on the four sites I shop at regularly, Amazon, Netrition, Emergency Essentials and Walmart. I don't have to drive anywhere, which is good because at this time I do not have anything to drive (another big change for me). Most people do not like change and I am one of those people, IF it is forced on me. I need the changes to be my own doing.

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thoughts of My Child

My Child

There are times I look at my child,
And think of the pain of a lonely pregnancy;
how unsure I was of myself,
how scared and alone I felt.
I see my little boy,

wishing he had a father,
to help him fix a toy truck;
to teach him to hit a ball,
to make him be good.
And I wonder did I do wrong?
have I hurt my child?

I remember feeling resentful,
for bringing him up alone;
for being tied down,
then feeling guilty,
for feeling this way.
Then I look at my son
looking at me full of trust,
smiling, saying he's happy;
that I did no wrong,
that I haven't hurt him.

I look at my son,
and he clutches my hand,
and he tells me his secrets;
I hold him - and I know he'll be fine,
and so will I.

- For we have each other.

This is a poem I wrote long ago, when my son was very little. Still a baby, in fact. Now he is 46 years old, all grown up. Time passes quickly. I am not posting this for his birthday or any special day. Just that I recently spent some time with him and realized that everything turned out okay after all.

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Friday, April 08, 2016

Straying From My Low Carb Food Plan

Crustless Spinach Quiche Low Carb Version

"This time, I am NOT straying from my low carb food plan!" How many times have I said that? How many times have I strayed from it? How many times have I regained those lost pounds? How many times have I said "I will just eat this ____________ (pizza, ice cream, candy, doughnut, whatever) one time only?" Why? Why do I do this to myself over and over? I cannot understand this thing I do to myself. I REALLY love my low carb food plan, which is what I call it. It is actually Atkins that I follow. When I think of all the times I have sabotaged myself by eating just one little thing that starts me off on not following my plan for weeks, it makes me sick. Have you ever done that? I have learned by doing this to not dwell on my setbacks. Instead persevere by getting back on your plan, no matter how many times you slip off it. Get back on it immediately. 

The biggest benefit of following Atkins, for me, has been my health. I just feel good on it. I can sleep good. I can walk better. I feel good about myself because I know I am doing this for myself. Although at this time of my life, at 63 years of age, I am not taking any prescription medications or over the counter ones either. I haven't taken any in many years now. I don't catch colds, rarely have a headache or ever feel sick in general. I don't use pain relievers of any kind. This is not to say that I am in perfect health. Nope. I have very bad painful knees. Some days, I can hardly walk at all. I use a cane if I go anywhere. In the house, I don't need it so much. 

Garden in 2014

Even so, I do a lot of work at home. including working in 16 raised beds in my garden. I can a lot of food every year, all year long, not just fruits and vegetables. There are a number of chores I used to do, but unfortunately, are unable to do any longer. Those chores have fallen to my husband, adding to his already long list of chores he does every day. Diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family on both sides. Bad knees too, on my mother's side. So switching to low carbs is more than just losing weight for me. I have to admit after just three days of starting induction (first phase of Atkins consisting of only 20 carbs daily), I always feel great.  I have been back on it for a few weeks now and see myself doing more chores and not tempted by the bad carbs so much. 

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Copyright 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Start Selling Your Clutter On eBay

Earrings I am selling on eBay

One of the activities I have been doing is trying to sell a lot of my own possessions on eBay. I just have too much stuff! Many times though, I take pictures and get it all ready to list and then my sentimental side takes over. Back in the box it goes. I know though, that eventually it will have to go in a listing. I am surprised that more people do not do this. I see posts on different forums and Facebook pages about how everyone has so much clutter and don't know what to do about it. I say, "take the bull by the horn and get started on eBay!"

Christmas Coasters selling on eBay

So where does one start? First make sure you already have an eBay and PayPal accounts! Very important first step because you cannot sell or buy on eBay without it. Yes, PayPal is very safe to use and I feel safe and secure using it. They have protected me many times over the years. Yes, you will have to connect your bank account to PayPal, but if you do not want to do that, open a new bank account just for online transactions. Transfer money into that account when you plan on buying something to make sure it is covered. Simple!

Camera Lens for my old camera sold on ebay

Now to sell on eBay the first thing after your account that you will need will be feedback. So get to work buying some cheap items in order to get some. My best advice on this is to buy things you need. Like shipping supplies. You will need various types of shipping supplies to send your buyers packages to them. Use them to get your feedback built up by making separate purchases over a period of time. If you buy a lot of stuff from one seller at the same time, it will only count as one feedback. You want more than that. Stock up on bubble mailers, bubble wrap, poly mailers, boxes, tissue paper, fragile labels, etc. You will also need a digital scale, a label maker, labels to go with it and of course, a printer, paper and ink for it. That could take awhile acquiring that amount of supplies. But if you want to make serious money on eBay, you will need it. Plus it will give you more feedback.

Lot of vintage crocheting needles I sold on eBay

The reason feedback is so important is because buyers won't buy from someone with less than 100 feedback. And if they do, they will be nervous about the transaction. To make them feel comfortable start your sales with small cheaper items until your feedback is up to 100. I know for myself, when I buy on eBay, I always check the feedback if they are less than 100. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I don't.

Copyright 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Monday, February 01, 2016

Planning Our 2016 Garden

We are having a beautiful February first here in New York state. I am amazed that our weather is so spring like in February! It is not normal at all, and I expect it to take a turn for the worse any day now. My husband likes it because he is not having to do so much shoveling this year. Of course, this year he bought the new Snow Wolf, which is a new type of shovel. He hasn't had the chance to use it in a really heavy snowfall yet this year. I figure though, that day will come.

Today I am studying my seed catalogs over. I have plans for our homestead garden this year. During the fall my husband took down four trees. One was our heirloom apple tree that was really old, but gave us a good yield every year. Last year was its best. The apples even tasted better than previous years. One whole branch was dead and had dried up leaves on it. The rest of the tree was covered with apples and we had plenty for us and our horses. One morning we looked outside and it was on the ground!

After it was gone, I was liking the openness of the area without it. We had just been talking about taking down the dead branch and the cherry tree next to it. So Larry took down the cherry tree but it was a complex chore. The tree was huge and had two parts, almost like having two separate trees. The roots of the tree had grown under our house and since we fixed that, didn't want it to damage it again. Besides we were afraid it might grow toward the well and damage that. If that happened, we'd be in BIG trouble! So down it came.

Once that tree was down, the backyard had a whole new look to it. I loved it! Now the garden would get a lot more sun. We discussed how we can make changes back there to improve our garden. Soon Larry took down the clothesline so he could take down two other trees back there. Both of them were in the raised bed I call the "snake bed" (due to its shape not the snakes). It is more open now, not only allowing more sun on the raised beds, but the big trees were blocking wind from reaching our wind turbine. The turbine is now producing even more power for us. We can really see a difference.

Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2016 Kathleen G. Lupole

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting On With Life

I am dreaming of this life,
on the other side of the fence.
As they say, the grass is always
greener on the other side of it.
Thinking life will be better,
in another place beyond, the place
I am in right now.

When I get to that new place,
how come I miss the old place?
Instead of being happy here, I miss
the old familiar rituals, people and ways.
Now it is too late to return and I am stuck,
forever in this new place.

Time to put the past behind,
get on with the new...
New routines, new friends, new ways,
after a period, this becomes my life.
Soon I start dreaming of a new life,
somewhere on the other side of the fence,
where the grass will be greener.......always.

Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole