Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This and that . . .

It's cold here this morning.  South Bend has 13º, but just a few miles SSW of there, my thermometer bottomed out at -6.2º - yes NEGATIVE 6.2º.  I was a bit worried about the chickens.  I'm glad there are more of them in there this year than there were last year.  It was quite cozy when I opened it up.  The door didn't go up until about 8:30 - I knew the temp would drop fast once it was open.

They are happily picking at their morning feeding.  They have a heater for their water, and I took out another waterer full to the brim with hot water from the sink.  I'll have to check them a couple of extra times today.  The Campines are very hardy, but the other breeds out there - well, I don't know.  This winter will tell the tale.  Buckeyes were developed for cold weather regions, so I think they will be okay.  But the new girls are a mystery.  I'm not even sure of the breed of a couple of them.  When one takes free chickens, one does not look a gift chicken in the eye.

On a whole other subject, I did a little cleaning this week.  I sell herbs and spices at my booth at the market.  You would think that my herbs and spices would be well organized, wouldn't you?  Ha!  What a mess in there!!  The labels are still on the shelves, but the spice jars are no longer aligned with the carefully thought out labels:  Leaf, Powder, Seed, Gourmet, Rubs, Pickling Spices, and there is even one called Seldom Used.

Night before last, I hauled out every last jar and tin and got going.  My nose was put to good use, and some were far beyond using, even if used at double or TRIPLE the amount called for.  I filled a small bowl three times with unusable seeds, leaves and ground spices.  Then I started consolidating.  Three jars of oregano, four of celery leaves (I always dry the leaves myself and save them, although obviously not in the same place), two of turmeric, and on and on it went.  The emptied tins and plastic containers went into the recycling, and the glass jars were put to soak to get rid of labels.  I just took the last of them out of the dishwasher this morning.  I decided to count the empty containers - over 30 of them!

My spice cupboard is neat and well arranged.  There is space to move things around a bit and hunt for the stuff in back.  Two houses ago, I converted an old ironing board closet in my 1924 house to a spice closet.  It was perfect - in the kitchen, very tall, and very shallow.  I still mourn for that cupboard - no hunting or rearranging in there!  I tried to find room in this house, which I designed and had built, for such a cupboard, but it was a luxury I couldn't afford.  However, there are times when I wish I had taken out a bedroom so that I could have had a "proper" kitchen!

When you clean your fridge, do you find yourself going to it to look at your handiwork again and again?  I do.  And that is what I am doing with my spice cupboard.  It is a sight to behold -- at least to me.

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