Preliminary (and possibly needless) introductions:
I’m Chantel, married to Scott, my very best friend. We share our home with my childhood best friend, Katie who is working here in Sandpoint until her Sailor Husband (who happens to be Scott’s older brother) is stationed somewhere and she can join him. We’re all in various ranges of early to mid 20’s (but I won’t tell you who is the oldest…) and as happy as can be.
Summer has slipped away, and the weather is becoming more and more chilly every day. There is no longer a garden to look after. That patch of ground behind our little green house was turned only last week, and now lays fallow until another spring shall warm the earth. Most of my preserving and canning is done for the season, and the little closet space is near to overflowing with jars- and with a box of potatoes and some winter squashes. I planted my spring bulbs in a new bed Scott and I built in front of the house a few weeks ago. The leaves have mostly fallen from the birch and apple trees, and it is just the Larch that hold to their needles, and cause the mountainside to still glow yellow in some places scattered amongst the evergreen trees. It’s a different season than it was, and with the different season, with the changes outside, come changes in every day life for us here. Some days I can be found doing the things that make a house a home that works- that is cozy and restful and relaxing. Other days, you’d find me in front of my computer for more of the day than I wish, designing graphics and writing up code for new pages on one of the latest Beautiful Song Creations- whatever that might be (right now it’s an update for a Real Estate Site). Either, way, dinner still needs to be made and the house needs to be clean, but I get a bit more grace if everything isn’t just right as I wish it were. But, now on to the day.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
While some things have indeed changed about daily life, one thing has not changed. Morning still comes and starts early. We have an alarm set to go of twice- ten minutes apart. The first alarm alerts us to begin waking up. The second warns us that it’s time to begin the morning traditions- which always includes a bit of snuggling and talking before one of my least favorite moments of the day: crawling out of the finally warm bed and putting on some icy clothing and heading down stairs to a somewhat cool house to prepare for my very least favorite moment of the day- watching Scott drive away to work.
Our schedule has varied a little, and Scott is leaving earlier than before, and trying to get home right around 3:30 for dinner time. Prayers, devotions and morning lunch packing done, Scott and Katie out the door, I crawl back upstairs to bed. I am not feeling so very great and hoped some sleep would make the sluggish, headachy, weak feelings go away, but sleep avoids me, so I get up again, and turn on the stove and see about some breakfast– and some warm tea, of course.
I had my usual morning ‘online duties’ (usually done while curled up on the couch, watching distant lights twinkle and finally the sky grow lighter, and eventually bright enough to be called day) in the unusual spot of at the kitchen table, where, though not curled up or as cozy as the couch, worked better for today’s need of the organizer and pen and paper. I did, however follow The Usual by checking in on a few setup projects I’m working on, looking to see if I can schedule any site testing jobs, and checking my email for any pressing requests, of which there were none.
By the time I was done with my computer work, breakfast was also done, and down came the Grain Mill from it’s perch on top of the fridge and in were hauled the buckets of grain and the necessary ear protection was retrieved and an apron tied on. It’s baking day, and already it’s later than I had hoped, but the house is still much too cool to raise bread properly, and we are almost out of pellets for the wood stove, so out I went to haul in a bag, and to breath in some clean, cool fresh air and to see the sparkles on the grass.
We are blessed to live in the country. I grew up in the country, and in many ways it is such a part of me that I am not sure how I’d live with out it. Even on the busiest, craziest and most impossible to get out of the house days, my windows look out into a beautiful world full of reminders of my Creator who makes all things beautiful in His time. I can watch the seasons change, I can hear the birds sing, and the clouds come and go through the sky. It is a world full of beauty, and finding it in the little things, the unexpected places brings peace to my heart. It also is my source of entertainment. Scott and I often laugh about our “TV” window, out of which we can observe the six yaks in the pasture, the birds, and a herd of deer that frequent the yard summer and fall, as well as the land owner’s family, who have kindly shared their 12 acres and a part of their lives with us as their renters.
Inside again, stove stocked and going strong, I fill up the mill with a mixture of Prairie Gold (a soft, spring wheat) and Red Winter Wheat and turn it on to do its job. Grain grinding is not so hard as it is tedious, noisy and a little dusty, but fresh, soft, fine whole wheat flour is well worth any noise or mess and makes the best bread you could imagine! While the grain and mill take care of themselves, I pulled up the recipes I planned to use today- two new ones, Blueberry Banana Bread, Pumpkin Raisin Biscuits, and an old favorite (just in case there is time) for “holiday cookies” for evening teatime. I know my whole wheat bread recipe by heart, and rarely pull out the recipe card for it.
Ingredients assembled and wheat ground, it was high time to get production rolling! I like to pretend I am an accomplished, well organized baker, with a list of things to bake, ingredients all ready, and with the plan in place, smoothly work through my list and day and hopefully make as little mess as possible. Such things are usually more mental than actual, for while making a list of what I plan to bake, pulling the recipes and the ingredients out in an orderly way does indeed make the baking go more smoothly and with less mishaps, the mess-less part works better some days than others. Today I made the mistake of not washing up what seemed like such a few dishes from miscellaneous things, and somehow had the flour-spilling talent and soon my kitchen counters, the table and the floor had the appearances of spotty snowfall. Not to mention the way dishes multiplied!
But the smells are always well worth the mess made in the process! The Banana bread turned out nicely, my bread raised properly and the biscuits- as good as I’m sure they are as biscuits inspired me to modify and make pumpkin raisin muffins instead. Today, the muffins even, which love to tempt me with round, beautiful tops, only to fall flat for no apparent reason, behaved for once and stayed nicely rounded and smelled so good it was a difficult temptation to resist eating one warm with a little margarine melted on top. (But I didn’t do it! ;) )
By this time, my kitchen was disaster zone, the bread had been a little slower than usual to rise (no wonder, with the temperatures been so very cool today!) and the remnants of yesterday’s laundry were calling for attention. Besides, I had not yet made our bed and very much needed a shower, too. Time was running out, and high gear was put up a little higher, and dishes fairly flew through the water into the drainer and back out into their proper drying places, the dusting of flour was removed, stove wiped down and any other clutter I happened to find cleaned up, and I dashed up to make the bed and put away some stray laundry. I have not accomplished everything I wished, but I have done the main things and that is what matters most.
Through out my day, I have taken a few glances out my windows between work, and have soaked in some of autumn’s beauties- and laughed at the yaks who have such different and amusing personalities and interact in crazy ways. It’s made the day go by pleasantly, and I don’t feel quite so alone in the empty house if I take time to see the world around me.
I called Scott before heading down to take my shower to ask if the plan was still to head in to town to do some errands or not and what kind of dinner he wanted- sit down or to go. The verdict was to have a meal to go, and to be ready to run out the door when he got home. After my quick (and rather cold) shower, I ran through our list and made sure I had everything ready to go: library returns in my bag, deposits for the bank, shopping list complete, purse (with necessary information included) on hand, and finally, lunch prepared.
I decided that sandwiches probably made the best ‘to go’ meal in this situation, so pulled out the veggies and fixings for two nice and juicy deli style sandwiches and put some quick noodle soup on the stove to go with it.
About this time, my sister-in-law, Katie arrived home with no new news of her sailor, but we usually never have trouble chattering, and our bird feeder was visited by a Steller’s Jay who scolded loudly the lack of seeds on the ground and tried to figure- yet again- how to knock some off for himself. We laughed at him, and talked a bit about her trip to Nick’s granduation and then I heard the sound I love best- Scott was home and it was time to leave for town!
Our time in town was fairly uneventful. Bank, then library, then a few short stops at a couple stores for some small items to finish packing up a box headed to my sister in the Philippines, and home again at last.
It was dark when we got home, and felt like it ought to be bed time, but we sat around the table and talked for a little while (Scott and I can talk about anything and everything and do regularly and it is a very good thing), drank some grape cranberry juice from our goblets for the fun of it, and re-worked our schedule a little for the coming weeks, and thanked God for how He’d blessed us, before heading up stairs to our very cold bedroom to read a little before sleeping. In the end, the reading was very little, for we skipped our usual story time in favor of snuggling down under the covers and trying to get warmed up before slipping off into dreamland to get ready for yet another busy, ordinary day of beautiful, happy life in Idaho.