The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
"The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and
the world remains and is immortal." ~~Albert Pine
Take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like you've never
been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of
happiness you'll never get back.
* * *
I don't know if you've noticed or not, but some of the trees
in our area are beginning to change colors. They are beautiful.
But before Labor day? Don't they know there's a rule? If the kids
cannot return to school before Labor day, then the trees shouldn't
be able to start changing color before then either! But, I guess
they have their own timetable. Fall brings so many fun things! We
get to cut a few loads of wood before winter, and the time in the
woods really is fun, not too much work. It's good exercise and even
if we work up a small sweat, it feels good. And there's the
accomplishment of seeing the stacks of wood all piled up and ready
There's canning and freezing. Knowing that a little work
can bring free food for winter. Later there will be a few more
jobs. Getting the plow on the 4X4, and putting things away for
But, fall isn't even officially here! A lot of people
complain about winter's approach, but the snow may be a month or
more away. It's not too late for that last trip to the beach. Or
that cook out on the weekends or a hayride. Just don't put it off
any longer! Just enjoy the weather, what ever it brings, as much as
you can. We can learn to love it, or let it beat us.
* * *
There are lots of reasons to burn alternative fuel. We
don't live in town, so there is no natural gas connection. Until
now, we've had fuel oil and wood. But mostly we burn wood. For
one, when those trees fall in the woods, why just let them fall and
rot? Sure it takes a few mornings in the woods, and a few hours of
stacking to get it ready, but otherwise it's nearly free. If you
have your own woods, or a good source, burning wood is probably the
best alternative. If you have to buy wood, that's a different story
altogether. You've lost the benefit of the fun exercise, and you
are paying a big price. People with allergies must beware as well.
Some people just cannot handle the dryness and air quality, no
matter how minimal. But most of us will probably reach a point where
burning wood is just not an option.
Some people are burning corn. I think that's a pretty good
alternative, it's renewable at the very least. But I've been told,
it doesn't burn well on it's own. Corn likely uses more fuel to
plant, harvest, shell, etc. than wood. The price seems to stay
pretty steady, but corn will get harder to come by, with ethanol
plants springing up. That may affect the price. Pellet stoves, while
trendy, are possibly easier than the wood stove - fill the hopper
once or twice a day. But then you are at the mercy of the pellet
companies. We've seen pellets nearly double in price in the last
two years alone! Ouch. Pellets must be kept completely dry. If a
bag gets moisture into it, it's ruined. Also you cannot store
pellets too long, or they revert back to the sawdust they started
Also a bag of pellets is heavier than a piece of wood, so you
actually have to handle more weight, rather than less.
Whatever you burn, please let me know if you have some cheaper,
easier ideas. There are all kinds of alternatives, including solar,
which is probably the cleanest and best, but not the most reliable.
I'd love to hear from you!
* * *
1 c flour
2 T vegetable oil
1 T sugar
1 t cinnamon
3 t baking powder
toss in a pinch salt
1/2 c milk
1/2 c applesauce
Beat egg, add remaining ingredients. You can add more milk if you
like thinner pancakes. Heat griddle, pour on batter and cook until
puffed and dry around the edges.
Serve with real maple syrup!
* * *
Extending the Garden
Don't let an early frost nip your garden. This time of year
the garden is really coming on. Keep your tomatoes picked and you
will get more. It's true, once the weather cools, hot weather
loving plants don't do as well, but lots of plants are loving the
cooler air. Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, and more just love
a cooler environment. If you have a green house or coldframe, you
can really extend the season. But even a few strategically placed
old blankets on your `maters and peppers can keep them going through
a few light frosts. So, don't let Jack Frost ruin your garden not
Please contact Sheryl with recipes, questions, comments and simple
living ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
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