House Bound

I hurt my back lifting heavy fence posts the first weekend in December and was in pretty excruciating pain for a while. Unfortunately M had just left for Kansas for a week to attend his step-father’s funeral and to help his brother square things away when the pain started. I couldn’t sit down or lie down so there was no sleeping let alone getting into the truck and driving myself to the doctor.

I have a bad habit of grinning and bearing it but after five days of no sleep and constantly shuffling around the house 24 hours a day in a stupor I clenched my teeth, fought back the tears and drove myself to the doctor. I took the prescription meds although I really hate them, but at least they knocked me out enough to sleep an hour at a time before the pain would wake me again. M came home a few days later – thank goodness. He is an excellent caretaker when I am sick or injured and I was even more grateful to have him home than usual.

The timing of my injury and M’s Kansas trip made for a very low key Christmas with regard to “preparations” but surprisingly it turned out to be quite lovely – in fact we both have dubbed it our favorite Christmas together so far. It was also the first day my pain was manageable so I could relax and enjoy it. Thank goodness our larder was full of good things to eat and drink, and since Santa shops early there were still plenty of presents under our makeshift Christmas tree.

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Stocking stuffers are our favorites and tend to be food oriented. It’s a good thing since there wasn’t much done in the holiday baking department this year.

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With all of the time spent at home recovering but not being able to sit or lie down for very long, I had to find ways to keep myself busy.

I finished a sweater I’ve been picking up and putting down for quite a long time for M. I worked on it while standing at the dining table. The cats decided the sweater needed a little more texture and so did a little “weaving” in of their own every time I walked out of the room.

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He cleans up pretty well, doesn’t he?

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I knit a couple of hats using leftover yarn from other projects. I leaned against the kitchen counter to knit and read my patterns from my laptop perched on top of the toaster oven. My usual monochromatic tendencies seemed to have been affected by the pain meds…

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When M came back from Kansas we made bacon, sausage and braunschweiger

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with a very attentive audience

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With the Foodsaver Santa brought us I vacuum packed it all and decided to organize the freezer.

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I made new spice containers and organized the cabinets.

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I started some apple/ginger sauerkraut with my new fermentation kit. I have a large crock I usually do this in but really like having the ability to do small batches in mason jars.  This way I can experiment with flavors and not feel obligated to eat 4 gallons of something that turned out to not be my new favorite thing. The large jar contains orange peels, rosemary and vinegar – I’m steeping it for about a month to make my own citrus cleaner concentrate thanks to my new favorite book The Hands On Home written by Erica Strauss (thank you Santa!) who also has a great blog M and I both follow Northwest Edible Life. I HIGHLY recommend both even if you aren’t in the northwest. She is HI-larious and seriously makes home-keeping fun!

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Being the bartender in our house and a life-long passion for making “concoctions”, I gave M a gift bag for Christmas with all of the ingredients he needed to make his own tonic water – another great idea from nwedible.  It turned out super delicious and well worth doing if you are a Gin & Tonic fan, which we are thanks to a local organic distiller here on the island for turning us into gin fans. One sip at a pork butchery workshop and spirits tasting was all it took to convert us.

M replaced the section of rope the kitties had shredded to pieces on the scratch post he made them when they were kittens about 8 years ago. He also recovered their hideaway with fleece.  Siena is quite content to hang out in there and watch the birds eat from the feeder he got them for Christmas.

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Despite the painful start to our holiday season, it turned out pretty well in the end. We spent some relaxing time together, made and enjoyed delicious food and libations, as well as checked a bunch of things off of our home “to do” list.

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About La Femme Farmer

Starting up a small farm is the goal for the second half of my life. It's a late start I know, but better late than NEVER! Growing food, cooking and eating are my passions and now I get to do it full-time (and then some). and yes, that's a tomato from my garden!
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8 Responses to House Bound

  1. DM says:

    Loved the detailed update! your cat looks cozy in her tube 🙂 Your cat could be a twin of our Miss Kitty. (just this afternoon I was working on a cat condo in the shop for an inlaw. Is there a trick to installing that rope? (do you glue it, or just keep it tight and staple? I agree.. Hubby cleans up very well 🙂

  2. Hey DM – good to hear from you! I think M just used a glue gun, pulled the rope tight and used finish nails set deep to tack it up. It took the girls 7 years of daily use to shred the middle section. You might be interested to know that the tube is a sona tube I got from someone’s construction leftovers.
    Yep – hubby is a looker!

  3. Happy New Year! Wonderful update, thank you. So sorry to hear about your back – sounds like you did a doozie on it, and glad to hear you’re feeling more the thing. We have a similar tendency with our stockings – and I see we have similar tastes – hubby’s to me was full of British stuff like pickled onions and some Marks and Sparks shortbread. Mine to him was garnered at the organic farmers Christmas market – local beer mustard, herb blends, and local sea salt. The sweater looks fabulous, and I think that’s the first time there’s been a photo of M not in rain gear and/or hard hat and/or not in a ditch or a digger. I had to look up braunschweiger – liverwurst with bacon in it? That might be good… Gin and tonic – my British parents ensured I developed a taste for it early on. A local brewery which makes some of my favourite beer recently also got started in distilling and even tonic. http://fermentorium.ca/ Love their tonics – and I was given some for Christmas. But to make your own – that’s one upmanship :). I know NWEdible :Life – haven’t been there in a while but I drop in occasionally, and yes, she’s a ton of fun. Look at your fancy fermenting kit – definitely envious there, but perhaps I should get more use out of the gadgets I have before I launch into more :).

    • yum! we may have to add a stop at the fermentorium to sample their wares when we get up to your neck of the woods.
      Making your own tonic is not difficult at all – the hardest part is finding Cinchona bark powder but they have it on Amazon.com so not really that hard after all. We had been buying the FeverTree tonic – a little spendy but quite delicious, so making our own is also saving us a few $ in addition to satisfying M’s inner mad scientist. Be sure to read nwedible’s post on making the tonic – it’s a hoot.
      Always a pleasure to hear from you SSF!

  4. Wow! Back pain is no fun, it sounds like you’re on the mend slow but sure. I am going to have to try those airlocks with the ReCap, I have crocks of every size from quart to 25 gallon but I would get more adventuresome with my experimenting with a clear jar where I can see what’s going on.

    Erica is a hoot! Thanks for the tips and I hope you continue to heal.

    • Thanks MOH. I am slowly but surely getting better. The reCaps and airlocks are pretty cool. I just sliced up a bowl full of stuff I had in the fridge – green and red cabbage, apples, red onion, ginger, carrots – and voilà!

  5. I didn’t have time to leave a comment on your beautiful knitting! Gorgeous!! I downloaded some free patterns before the holidays from Tin Can Knits 12 days of Christmas freebie, now I just need to use them. You’ve inspired me to get busy 🙂

    • Thanks! I struggled with that sweater and was quite surprised (and pleased) at how well it turned out. I’m glad to be knitting again – I started that sweater about 4 years ago but it (and all my other knitting) were left by the wayside when we started the farm. Glad to have inspired you to pick up those needles – happy knitting!

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