Giving up my best friends, getting into gardening mode and coming to terms with the fact that Yeah. I am a little bit Hannibal Lector. What of it?
This week I said good bye to two of the best friends a girl could ever find in the garbage; these glorious gold mannequins that look like female Oscars. Every year I'd bring these ladies up from the basement to set on either side of my living room entrance during Oscar night.
There they'd stand while I sat in my carefully selected Oscar outfit (black and white polka dot pajamas last year) giving hair, makeup and fashion advice to the television while scraping burrito stains off my flannel.
Every time I would drag them up my 18" wide medieval staircase I'd get a rush of adrenaline at seeing them in their proper but rarely seen spot upstairs. So that feeling lasted about 30 seconds, and then dulled to a Gee, I do like having those out on Oscar night, to contempt for them once I had to drag them down the staircase again the next morning.
My house is what realtors would describe as a modestly sized charming century cottage. Because small house with a death basement is a harder sell.
Since two life sized blobs of gold take up a lot of room, I had to make a decision while I was cleaning out my basement earlier this month. Keep them? Or get rid of them?
Ultimately I decided that reclaiming the extra space they took up was going to make me infinitely happier. I would miss them yes. They're unique and definitely not something you see every day browsing your Instagram feed. But, I'd had my fun with them and decided to give them away to someone who lives nearby and is also related to me. My niece. I could also easily take her in a kick boxing/hair pulling match so if I ever want them back I'll just have to put my hair in a ponytail and make sure I'm not wearing big hoop earrings.
Once the basement was cleaned up (and yes after several weeks it's finally cleaned up) I got to start going through my seeds and organizing them. Part of that was to go through all the dried beans I grew last year to pick out the best seeds for planting next year. I chose the beans I liked the shape, size and colour of best in the hopes I can continue to reproduce those specific qualities.
If you save seeds, save the ones that have the qualities you want to reproduce. For instance, if you have a short growing season and you have trouble getting things to ripen before frost hits, always save seeds from the very first fruit/vegetable that matured for you. That way you're reinforcing that quality in the plant the next time you grow it.
I also reorganized all my seeds from my incredibly cute but slightly space hogging glass jar storage, to THESE plastic seed storage boxes. Which are actually photo storage boxes, but are BRILLIANT for storing seeds. You can see them on my little potting bench in the photo below.
16 boxes fit into a case that you can carry around. It's actually a photo storage box that I first saw years ago somewhere and then again on Homestead & Chill last year.
These ones from Amazon US are made in the USA, in Canada you can get them at Michaels but they're made in China.
The other thing I bought to help with the organization and ease of use in my basement is that little potting table you see. It's made of hemlock and completely folds up so I can store it away if I want to.
You can get the potting table in the US here for around $85.
You can get it in Canada here. I paid $129 but it's randomly up to over $160 now! So keep an eye on it to wait for the price to drop back down.
Ready and waiting for seedlings to get started. It's not time yet here in Zone 6, but it's coming.
I washed and laid mats down in the basement so I wasn't freezing on the cement floor. These wash and sweep easily so I can just throw them in the washing machine when they get frightening.
Now, after looking at all these photos of my "improved" basement you're probably thinking it still looks like the kind of place someone would plan to kill, bury, hide or brainwash someone. And you're right. It does look like that, but I don't mind. I like a workshop to look like a workshop. The same way I like a cottage to look like a cottage.
See? Basement. Total workshop basement.
SINCE cleaning up down here I've been able to lay out all my seed starting stuff so that it's easy to get to, I've actually SCREEN PRINTED a few tea towels and tee shirts, plus my maple syrup making equipment is ready to be grabbed and used when I need it in a couple of months.
How do I find the strength to do all that I do? Oatmeal. We've discussed this before. I wanted to let you in on a tip that I don't think I shared in my original post on how to make Overnight Oatmeal.
When I make my oatmeal, I don't just add oats. I add quinoa, wheat berries, and sometimes chia seeds. My friend Jamieson also includes all those things PLUS barley, flax seeds and is thinking of incorporating "EVERY GRAIN THERE EVER WAS" (in his words.)
So what's the tip?
If you add other things to your steel cut oats (always keeping a proportion of 1 cup grains to 3 cups liquid), mix everything together and put it in a container so instead of measuring each weird thing out individuallly you can just take a scoop of the premixed grains.
Pretty sexy bandaid shot, right? Burned it. I know you were wondering. On what I don't know. I know you were also wondering. My best guess is the fireplace or the oven, I can't remember.
Here are a few more things that got me through the past couple of weeks.
Hopefully I've inspired a few of you to tackle your basements, spare rooms or garages. Remember. Just because you own it doesn't mean you have to keep owning it.
Give it away, donate it, sell it or otherwise get rid of it to make space for you to breathe. (We live in a day and age where I can't use the phrase throw it out for fear of being attacked by hippies wearing only garments they found in a puddle on the road).
But, yeah - if it's no good to you or anyone else, throw it out.
Have a goooooooood rest of your weekend!