After writing several Ukraine blog posts, I decided I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say about Ukraine at the moment. I’m still following the news and I check the Twitter spin war situation each day and look at YouTube a bit, but I’ve stopped watching a lot of prepper channels, because the fearmongering and alarmism on many of them I believe are mostly clickbait and people who know fear sells.
Lately, I’ve been trying to get back to working on some old hobbies again, although I’m still working on prepping on a regular basis too. I was always buying extra and trying to be prepared for emergencies, even before I discovered the online prepping community. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good prepping information online too, but as the economic and political situation in America has worsened more and more YouTube preppers and homesteaders have started stoking fear and spreading every right-wing rumor blazing by. Most of it is garbage. My focus has shifted to learning more skills and working on a few small projects at a time. I’m also trying to spend more time reading and less online.
I live in a residential area, where having chickens is allowed. A neighbor a few houses down recently got guineas, who make loud screechy sounds all day long. The first day, I was like what on earth is that racket. I don’t mind chickens, but I must say these guinea hens are really annoying. Here’s a video of the sound guineas make:
I love working on jigsaw puzzles. When my kids were young a friend had told me she used a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth on her kitchen table, so she could keep her jigsaw puzzle under it. When she wanted to work on her puzzle she just rolled the tablecloth back. I began doing that too and it worked great, but these two cats have to get into everything that I’m doing, so I opted for the table on the back porch. I like working my puzzles on a piece of foam core board, so I can turn the puzzle any way I want it while I’m working on it, although one of my kids gave me a very nice wooden puzzle board with drawers for Christmas last year. Here are two other puzzles I finished recently:
I’ve still got some things growing in my container garden and plan to continue this through the winter. I’m in growing zone 8b and I’ve kept my hanging ferns, a hibiscus and some other plants going for years, by just putting them together in a corner of my front porch and throwing an old bed sheet over them on nights where it’s supposed to get below freezing here. January is usually our coldest month, but even in January the average low temperature is in the 40s and by late February most years there are some flowers and things beginning to grow again. My hibiscus on my front porch often blooms throughout the winter, as do the roses.
Putting the black weed block fabric down and woodchips for my container garden area looked nice, but grass and weeds are now growing on top of the wood chips. I’ve even had zinnias and cosmos start growing in the wood chips. I stuck some of those in flower pots on the patio:
The most interesting new herbs I’ve grown this year were lemon basil, which I’ve dried a lot and saved seeds, and lemon balm. I planted lemon balm seeds, with no real idea how I’d use it, so did a little research online and came across some videos. Here’s my lemon balm:
I’m going to recommend a YouTube channel, Rain Country, where I’ve learned a lot about herbal remedies and uses. The lady, Heidi, sews a lot, which appeals to me, but I also enjoy her calm demeanor and common sense approach to life. This video on growing where you’re at really struck a chord with me:
The dramatic titles and clickbait drama may get the most traffic online, but there’s a lot more value with many of the YouTubers who skip all the drama.