Ben and Maggie moved out in December and Now Nate and Amanda and their two kids are moving in. They have decided to build a house on some land we own just a mile or so away and will live here while they get the house up. It’s a good news/bad news thing for my household organization. The bad news is that I have to clean out and organize if I’m going to come up with enough space. The good news is that I have to clean out and organize.

I’m pretty neat anyway but I do tend to accumulate stuff. It is an ongoing process to keep food and tools and books and the flotsam and jetsam of daily life from overwhelming us. The summer kitchen is a big help. I have all of the candle making stuff out there now and it’s way better than having it all over the island in the main house. I spent some time yesterday in the basement organizing canning supplies. Much of the canned food has been used up and I have many hundreds (dare I say a thousand) jars. I make an effort to keep them sorted by size but lots of times it just doesn’t happen. I also have cases of lids, regular and Tatttler and a huge collection of rings. I will say that, without the wood stove going in the basement, it felt downright cold down there. I could have devoted a few more hours down to sorting out but it was just too pretty a day for that. I cleaned out a bit more of my herb garden and started on the strawberry patch. I can see bits of onion and garlic peaking up and the rhubarb is showing some signs of life too. I’m not sure that I can remember a March afternoon when I was outside in a T-shirt cleaning out the strawberry patch.

Breakfast yesterday was pancakes. They were made with sour milk. I had miss a bottle in the back of the fridge and by the time I realized I hadn’t used it, it had turned. The lovely thing about raw milk that has soured is that it’s still food. Pasteurized milk that goes bad is fit for nothing but the compost pile. I used a recipe for buttermilk pancakes and they were really good. Of course, a dollop of amazing maple syrup didn’t hurt them any.

My busy season is here. I’m going to be in Marshfield on Saturday doing three food preservation workshops and then I’ll be at Dean Technical HS for a Master Gardner’s Symposium the following week. Bruce and the kids are coming with me to Marshfield as it’s a long trip and we’re going to have a vendor’s table. I think it will be good for the girls to help run the table. We’ll be selling books, T-shirts, honey and candles. I don’t expect to make a lot of money but I do love the opportunity to meet other people enjoying the challenges of leading a more prepared and self-reliant life.

I did want to share one final thing. I have always visited a number of forums devoted to preparedness. I know you know the ones I mean. I had them in my favorites and I checked in each day. I find I’m just not doing it anymore. Some are devolving into political rants and others are mostly gun porn. I find the anger and paranoia was starting my day off wrong. The sites I prefer have a much more practical bent. I really don’t want to read about red versus blue, democrat versus republican, north versus south and liberal versus conservative. We have so many ways we can divide and define ourselves. If I had to put a label on my T-shirt I want it to say that I am human and so are you. I need this planet to be healthy and so do you. I want my children to have a future and so do you. I need friends and so do you. We aren’t all that different.

I just cleaned out my favorites bar. I’m feeling lighter and happier. jars aren’t the only things that need organizing.