Pantry Challenge 2022 Jan to ?

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Potato pie with homemade corned beef tongue with sheep milk yogurt with dried nettles Pantry Challenge 2011

2011 was the year of finding gaps, and I mean gaps, if you think you have a nicely done complete pantry, go ahead.. stop buying anything from the store.. cold turkey.. no shopping ahead.. and then make everything from scratch for 31 days..  Its eye opening to say the least.

In the cold of Canada, there is no fresh food.. if you are very lucky you might be able to dig out some small spots in the snow in the garden and cover with buckets and force a few things..  If you are on a farm, you might have eggs or not, you might have milk or not.. you might have one more chicken or rabbit that you can butcher yet.. or not..

In 2012-2013, I got better, much better at working my pantry and increasing what I keep as my basic’s and standards.. my biggest tips, always put up more yeast, baking powder and fats.. and more dried fruits for Baking.

In 2014 and 2015, I mixed it up and added extra challenges, added in growing more fresh greens in the house, more sprouting, more double bedded outside growing beds for forcing a few things early (starting them in the fall and overwintering them) and start them growing back in the longer daylight days.

2016, I did the war time food challenge and each year in what was tradionally called the “starving month” that brutal time between when the food put up in the root cellar is either eaten or turning, but the ground outside is frozen down hard and even if some things are starting, its lean.. very very lean!

I learned so many things doing the challenge and I got better at it however it was always done at the same time of the year, then I started really pushing myself with No Buy Feb, this meant that because I was not shopping in Feb, it meant that the house was even more lean food wise when I moved into the march challenges..

I did this year after year not because it was really that much fun (So some of it was a BLAST for me given that I love to cook) but the main thing for me was to figure out where my “blind spots” where my gaps were and I always! found them..

So welcome to 2022, lets head straight into Jan 1st’s

Eat off the Farm/Pantry Challenge overview

Dairy-No Fresh, Cream and Butter freezer, Canned Evap milk in the Cellar and Dried whole milk powder in the pantry.

Eggs: 3 to 4 fresh eggs coming in right now per day

Fresh fruit-Nope,  its all frozen, dried or canned..

Veggies- A small mix of standard fresh from my last food baskets (maybe a weeks worth?, 10 days on oranges?), lots of squash, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips and then frozen, dried or canned..  Small amount of radish being grown, greens being grown/mico greens and spouting of course

Lets get real here, I live in ottawa valley canada and everything right now is frozen, covered in snow.. so anything fresh /garden is a NOPE, its winter folks..  but the lakes and rivers are not frozen enough to fish on yet.. so no fresh fish either!

Meat: LOTS and all kinds.. Freezer, dried, canned and still on the hoof or foot depending on need..

Anything harvestable outside.. – While there are a few things, its very minor indeed.. Keep you posted..

Now lets get to those food boxes.. they are amazing and I love them and I will continue to support the program, we normally buy 2 boxes every two weeks but as I am not planning on leaving the farm for other then medical appointments (if they are not cancelled again, 3 times so far) We will see if anything else getting me to go into public zones.   We are going to donate the boxes within the program to families in need.. We have done sponsored boxes before over the past year and we did four families for christmas, now we pay the top tier price for the boxs (our wallet is full) but the sponsered boxes are paid for at the lowest tier price point so for a extra 6 dollar we can support and donate 6 boxes to those that need them in Jan, and I expect there will be those in our community that will need them..

This is going to be hard on us in terms of dropping our own fresh foods down massively and I have some worried with hubbies new required meals that we will struggle more to figure this out then I would have in years past pantry challenges..

However for safety’s sake, we need to stay home for the next 4 (?) plus weeks at a min..  I expect that there is going to be a good number of folks that will be doing a 5 to 10 day plus pantry challenge over the next 4 to 8 weeks, I also expect that fund based wise that there will be even more leaning hard and heavy on what they have now, with very little coming in.. Jan is always hard on many peaple as they get those credit card bills and more in the mail if they over spent in Dec an on Christmas..

Then there is just the simple fact that inflation is reducing your buying power, so even for those that are still bringing in grocery’s, I expect that many will spending more, bringing in fewer items and still reaching into their freezer, pantries and so on working hard to stretch things out..

I am not going to say that I am going to post daily, I do not want to say it and then fail.. if I do.. whoot, if I do not.. its all good.. I will say that I plan to do a weekly round up till whenever it ends..

Will all those practice runs help me? How much of a struggle will it be to figure out meals without my fresh fruit and veggie boxes coming in steady? Its not fun when its not a challenge per say.. but more of a well Bleep the Bleep.. those son of a Bleeps.. sigh.. ok, ok.. ok.. one meal at a time, one day at a time..

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New Years Eve

The last day of 2021, tomorrow is the start of 2022..  What a strange year 2021 has been in so many ways off the farm.. with some of it touching our lives here on the farm in different ways..

Winter 2021 was very snowy with some good old fashion deep cold.. this was a very good thing for the soil, garden and all my newer plantings.. we had outstanding snow cover well into late spring.

Having said that our new indoor greenhouse was rocking it during the full winter.. its wonderful to be able to grow all your own winter salad greens and some of the fixings to boot!

We got out a few times off the farm to local walks despite the lock down happening at that time..

Hubby snowblowed walking trails that was much loved by the hounds and ourselves and we expanded that this year into walking trails in one of the pastures

I got to really enjoy the winter flock of ravens , getting some very different raven/wool harvesting photos, which was just outstanding for sure..

Raven dry felting the wool into a travel ball

Dry felting the wool into a travel ball

Spring would come to the farm in a slow start which was delightful in so many ways, the waking of the gardens and the fruits in the food forests.

The greenhouse would prove to a outstanding seedling starter and I would be able to get a head start of a great many things..

The ewes were getting bigger and bigger..

March broke all the rules coming in storm and leaving in the same Lion mode.. April however was filled with melting and some lovely days..

Suddenly we leaped into spring in a big way!

Cherry flowers

The big push arrived,





lots of gardens

More Gardens

And more flowers

Hello Harvests.. just a few!

Fall was long, frost came on slowly indeed..

but then so did the warm weather.. Hubby still picking fresh cherry tomato’s, raspberries in oct..

The Sunchokces had a very good year!

Late fall was all about processing, canning, drying, butchering, sausage making, pickling and more, with a good amount of prepping happening, hay, straw, feed, grains, seeds, and more..

Winter finally arrived.. snow and mild cold.. and with it came my birthday and the full Indoor Photography set ups and the new big studio camera..

what a upgrade and it much fun was and is being had in terms of photography..

Dec has been quiet, with a lovely date night out for our 22nd wedding anniversary

focused mainly on prepping both mentally and physically for what the new year will bring..

In the year of 2021, we lost our beloved older female Icelandic Sheepdog Marie..

while it was so hard, it was time and so we got to have the time with her.. knowing we were on borrowed time for the last year plus, we made so many sweet memories and yes she got the all the extra treats, cuddles and snuggles, sadly her last hike/walk trip off the farm was the fall of 2020.. for 2021, it was just gentle walks in the yard..

We also lost our beloved Faith.. it was sudden and a shock.. her little merp voice, her sweetness and her gentle soul is very much missed..  I am still struggling with this loss..  Suddenly lose is in some ways harder then when you know its coming..

However we also added in a new little guy.. Bells joined our purrpot family, a frail little tike

who is turning into a sturdy troublesome teenager muse with a heart of gold..

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2022 Goals

22 anniversy

Dear Hubby and I are both turning 50 in 2022, a big milestone in most folks lives.. in some ways just another day, another year and yet in other ways, its the BIG 50..  We have a lot of hopes and dreams for our 50’s.. but right now it just feels like a good idea to live even more in the moment, to see the bigger picture but live in the here and now..

In keeping with that, you will find my goals for the coming year to be either a lovely rounding of our life or boring as sheep poop.. lol.. your call really..

2022 Goals

  • Spend as much time in as many ways to enjoy and strengthen with continued active communication with the #1 most important person in my world.. The above really goes for everyone in my life that matters to me in different degrees..
  • Continue to work on different health issues within our household (which are stable an or improving but need continued care/treatment)
  • Live, Love and Work with the land/farm.. Expand the plantings, working the current gardens, work the food forests, Meat, Milk, Eggs, Fruit, Veggies, Herbs and Medical Plantings..
  • Blog, Ideally more
  • Feed the birds, continue to create haven on our farm for the wild birds
  • Add Honey Bee Keeping to the farm while also working hard to make sure it does not effect my very active breeding programs for my natives bees..
  • Replace, Repair, Rebuild in regards to continued farm/land/pasture needs.
  • Photography in so many ways
  • Art, drawing, doodles, painting, chainsaw carving, garden art, cement work
  • Rock hounding, including working my new rock tumbler
  • Lots of Walks, Hikes, Time in the bush, time by or on the water..
  • Travel?? (that’s ones up in the air) but hopefully at least locally done outdoor based day trips monthly at a min.
  • Trick Training, play time with the Horse’s, Hounds and Bells Kittens
  • Breath, Balance between work/life..

If we can do the above.. we will getter done.. and despite the struggles I see coming forward, it will be a year of good memories..

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Happy 22nd Wedding Anniversary

22 years ago Dear Hubby and I got married in front of family and friends, we had flown down from Yellowknife NWT to get married at the town my mother lived in (around 2.5 hours or so from hubby’s mother) in alberta..  We got married the day after boxing day because coming from a mix of pipelining and military family members it was the only way to have them all there including my dad and big brother.

I got to meet a number of Dear Hubbies family that flew in from Ontario mainly with one family from Sask.. my own family came from B.C. and across Alberta, with my dear bridesmaid also flying down from Yellowknife to be at the wedding..  It was as small as we could make it.. and I wish I had broken the rules, it was said that I could not invite X cousin’s without inviting them all.. but if I could have, I would have said.. set 5 more plate and called my closest cousin’s and told them to door crash..  Its been 22 years and I still regret that some of them were not at my wedding day..

It was a beautiful wedding in its own way, I still love my purple/white colored flowers and my mother got to have her dream come true in the sense that she went with my step father and tried on white wedding dresses (I really pushed hard for cream, not white but in truth I wanted velvet royal forest green lol!) My mom found a truly beautiful  white wedding dress..  and I know it made her heart sing to see me wear it..

We both pushed hard that it was a non-church wedding as I was expecting Maeve and while we had both been brought up in the same church, we both felt that while we had the standard wedding vows ( plus we did a lovely celtic hand binding in the middle of the more tradional wedding.. which most of my family thought was just “me” having a lovely wedding poem being read and followed.. it was far more)

I am glad that I pushed for that for while the bonds and promise to state can be broken with a filing of paper, the bonds set forth that day between us as a couple and between us and the Spirit that day have held us in good stead.

I will tell you a truth I have learned over the years, if you are lucky, you will always love your husband or wife but you fall in and out of love over and over again..  this can be said in many ways.. you grow at different speeds, you are walking different paths at the moment and so on..  If anyone tells you they loved their mate the same in every moment, in every day the same.. well, I call BS..

Some moments we feel so full that it feels like a warmth spreads though us, some times you cry with the joy of being lucky enough to share this world with that person.. and sometimes we know that we love them but “life” is right in front of us and must be figured out..

I remember being in my mid 20’s and knowing that I was strong and that if my marriage did not work out that I would be ok, that I could and would deal with it and get on with the next chapter.  Now 22 (almost 23 years) later with my husband and I know that I am strong, and I would carry on but that I would be broken to the end of my days..

Not Broken in the sense of never to love again or find happiness but that there would always be a wound, a weight, a carry of all the dreams, hopes, memories.. that their weight would always be with me till I crossed over.. and I consider that to be a amazing blessing indeed..  how lucky have I been to have lived a life that created that weight..

In 2020 there was a moment where I watch them take him away from the farm racing to the ER, where I stood there humbled, shaking knowing that I might lose him and that I could not even go with him or be in the hospital with him.. (MotherBleepingCovid) meant that I spent days waiting in the parking lot of that hospital, waiting for news, waiting with prayer.. Waiting to see if I would get to see him alive once more.. waiting for what the call would bring me in regards to news..

My 22 year happy anniversary would have come this year regardless but it was not a sure thing that we would be sharing it together and it shook me.. shook me hard.. the past year has had a crazy amount of learning curve to it.. so many changes, and I am grateful for needing to make each and every single one of them because it means we are both here, in the now.. together!

The past two years have been hard and the ones coming are going to be hard as well.. so hug your loved ones, pray (if you do so, in whatever way connects you to spirit) because today is never promised and it can change in a moment..

Posted in Life moves on daily | 11 Comments

Boxing Day Sales

The Boys are crazy good at telling me if anything comes on the farm.. so when they have access to the front pasture, this pose tells the watch dogs to alert, it also tells me something is happening by or on the farm and I should go have a peek. 

So its boxing day and that means sales.. 24 wild horses would not drag me off the farm and into stores but thankfully do to modern magic, you can sit at home, track and get notice when what you are watching for goes on sale.. 

We are upgrading our camera’s..  we have used hunting trail camera’s on the farm for years and they will continue to stay employed.. they are hidden and mobile and I love that I can shift them around based on needs..  I have a number of them..  highly recommend..  they are for more then hunting.. 

But its time to upgrade to more active ones.. one of the things that has held me back from a number of systems is that they are all shipped to the cloud, which means everyone along the way, in storage and so on has access to them..  This makes no sense to me.. I mean its fine if you live in the city and you have a porch camera on a street that already has street camera’s.. its just part of your life.. 

However where I live in the rural,  I have been waiting for 5 plus years for a update on the google view above and there is still no street view available on my place lol.. 

Having said that I want to have more access and I do want alerts to the phone.. and I found the system I want.. the hub can run up to 10 camera’s but you have a choice.. push the button and it punches it to the cloud, push that button off and plug in a big old usb and you can have it all sent and kept in house.. 

this is mass for our data use and trust me with hubby working from home, me working from home on my side gig also using data, the last thing we need is a data sucking hog of a set of cameras.. 

Which brings me to the second feature of the camera’s I like.. the programs allow you to set and turn off grey zones and to put it into low mode..  so while I will be setting up a number of them, I can when we are home, turn all but one off, again saving on data, where if we are working in the back barn, I can flip on the notices to my phone and get notice if anyone pulls in.. 

Same if for some reason we are leaving for a short time, I can turn them all on and flip on the cloud as well, so that no one can break in and take the in house gear, because I will have all the info on the net etc..  it also means I can then check on them on my phone while I am out traveling and or get notice 

I honestly think it might be total overkill but I like that I will have the ability to add extra’s on the system like on the geodome or in the gardens or ?  So that’s my boxing Day buy winging its way to the farm in very short order..  

Ps, please do not ask me for the system name or model or make etc.. because i am not going to put that here on the post lol 

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Merry Christmas 2021

My family and farm would like to wish you and your lovely family the very best Holiday season covering a host of different days and for those of faiths that do so.. Merry Christmas!


I offer a selection of my finest Christmas Photography for you! Many Blessings over the next days!





and just for the fun of it a few bloopers.. lol..


Why would I sit on the suitcase if I can crawl in it and then push it open?


Let me get this right, I am get in the box??

IMG_3233Ok I am in the box, now let me knock down this empty box , whack! haha.. No.. that was not what you wanted?


I think I got it this time.. sit in the box, paws in front please and pose.. eyes forward.. I did it! purr. purr

and Voila, with a little photo magic… the finished photo..


Bells Kitten hopes you find just the present you want under your tree!

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Keep your Eyes wide open.. Remember to plant the seeds!


In the mental words of my big boy, my watch dog Remington..

“You best be keeping close watch on things”


I will fully admit that I really did not want to write anything on this subject before Christmas, I wanted my posts to be filled with sweet imagines and thoughts like this one.

However C-21 (aka the Omicron Version of C-19) has come in like a lion in march, we will see if it ends up going out like a lamb (I have my doubts it will)..  I live in Ontario as so we are still more open then Quebec, which is a hop skip and jump from the farm.. honestly I could ride to the border on my horse (but good luck crossing the river without bridge or ferrier)

None the less, things are being closed up, moved back to smaller numbers, no food or drink allowed, we have always kept the masks indoors for most things but now even more have limits..  I would say its a only a matter of time before its fully closed again..  It will have to get a lot worse.. they will close the schools before they close up the 50 or 25% in store again.

We had notice and time,  a month ago it was easy enough to upgrade the masks (even buy them on sale and Canadian made) order the test kits in blocks of 25 on the christmas sale of 30% off..  and everyone went fa la la..  and made their holiday plans safe in the knowledge that they “the majority” of Canadian’s and those in Ontario were all double vaxed

It did not matter that we tried so hard to share the information that the “Vaccine” does not prevent getting or passing on C-19, that it NEVER WORKED THAT WAY.. nope, I have had those talks till I was bang my head in a wall..  that it was clear as a bell that it was to keep peaple out of the hospitals and ideally to keep the death counts down..

The second one is that we are all about us.. what is happening in our community, our province, our country, everyone EVERYONE knew that the varients would come..  and they have by the thousands.. most of them are minor.. a few certainly have not been.. and still the world chugged along making sure that we continued to have for the first time in Human history the fastest means possable to share them all..

So here we sit.. today we broke the single daily record, smashed it at 5, 790 cases in the past 24 hours.. with a active case count offically as of today or 42,000..

If you want to believe them, they say that on the average its 5 to 10 times higher in the population so..

Low end 28 950 new cases yesterday in the province.

High end.. 57 900 new cases yesterday in the province

Current active cases in ontario today 42 000

lets be nice and use their own 5 times.. 210,000 active cases in the province of ontario..

Everyone is very clear that Omicron has a rate of 4 to 8.. so for everyone on person that is actively shedding in infection, they can and are easily spreading it to another 4 or more..

We have hit the point that they are saying point blank.. if you are sick stay home, if someone in your household tests postive the whole house needs to stay home and assume they have it..  No walk ins..  only booked tests and they are giving the booking testing first and formost to those in Essential services or family members who work in Essential services to get the tests so they can continue to work..

I will give them credit on this, that is smart..  if you are vaccinated, its mild.. STAY THE Bleep home, but if you work in Essential Services, be it health, be it police, fire, be it power or heat or food or shipping etc.. they are getting the first pick and spots on the testing.. Its one of the few things they are doing that makes sense to me

However there have a been a few things happening in the past week that have caught my eye..

First we had a gentleman stop his car at the end of my driveway to see if we could lend him gas, he left something to prove he was coming back, and he did etc..  I made sure he knew we had the DOGS big time.. but what really struck me is that he ran the car so low on gas that he needed to borrow.. you only do that when its hard to keep the tank full due to lack of $$

Then I started getting the notices from friends as more and more have been exposed and are being placed on the “high risk” lists.. Some are prepared, many others are not.. all of them are having that internal war.. if its mild and we are all going to get it.. then just get on with it..  at the moment 43% of folks in repots taking in the past 3 days say they are still going ahead with all their current get together plans..

IF this is right and I expect its higher to be honest.. then we can expect Jan case counts to be wild! and Feb will tell the truth in regards to what is going to happen to hospital needs and death rates.

This morning as I was sitting in my normal work space, slogging my way though a lesson on line for a course I am taking, I saw a black/grey full bottom half mud covered truck come zipping up to my drive way and come flying in..  I was up and to the door with the dogs and the moment I opened the door and stepped out in bright red jacket.. one look.. straight into reverse and back out as fast as they came in and took off down the road..

Two mens with scruff, hats pulled low, hoodies on, even if I had my camera nothing to see or read due to the full mud job on both front and back plates (hmmm)..  that was a planned fast grab and go if I ever saw one…  shakes head.. sign of the times.. in need of quick cash..

Stay safe out there! In all ways..  Remember that no matter how cold and bitter the winter is.. the seeds are waiting.. that’s how I feel to a point.. hunkered down, fluffed up and grit in my eye.. but the seeds are there waiting.. waiting..

Winter is HERE! in the now.. the darkest day has come, and the wheel is turning.. it will be a slow turn and time will feel fluid and it will flow to fast and move far to slow at times..

Hold.. hold..  the seeds are waiting..


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The Peanut Foo is good!

The Blue Jays love peanuts.. I love a birds from the Corvid family, with ravens being my ultra favorite but crows and jays coming in a very close second..  but for flash, the jay is so crazy pretty.. 


They are bird feeder bullies for sure, mob yard bosses.. but they are also bold as brass.. and so they are the most active in regards to being willing to play in my christmas wild bird photography.. 


This is a mix of, that opps is awesome and got it! (with lots and lots of blur you will not see lol)


Some of the action ones are pretty darn great.. 



Some where taken in the morning light with the cold bitter frost used to good effect.. 


Other in the taken in the fading light of the evening sun on the longest dark day of year.. 

Today is a new day.. and the wheel turns and light starts coming again.. each day a little longer, a little brighter.. we still have the cold and winter bitterness to come but the sun will hold its promise.. the cats will seak it out.. the plants will turn to it in the house, and I for one am glad to see that the darkest day of 2021 is behind us.. onward.. 

So which one is your favorite? Did the action one catch your eye.. did you like the picture perfect one? or perhaps the one that almost looks like a painting but its real?


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Finding Joy Fa la la


When I need a break from this big old world, the news and more.. I take a deep breath, center myself and find that zen to work with animals/camera’s..  you can not rush it.. you can’t push it, you can’t make it happen..


its a dance.. its creative..  Its playful!

what will I do on my set up..  what background will I use.. what depth of field do I want, do I want a full set up or do I want it clean and all about the subject?


Or will I just let it all go and play and just live perfectly in the moment..  


Then the world comes crashing back and I am in silent mode.. 

We had a beloved pet get badly hurt and despite surgery, in the end needed to be helped across, which was brutal! it knocked me off kilter.. I still do not understand how it happened but it did.. and I am still not really ready to talk about it..   RIP to our beautiful an beloved Faith. 

Then the news started.. small at first, now the news is like a thunderstorm, its a downpour of information.. and in truth.. so few answers in there but it won’t matter.. we are all going to get to feel this storm and its aftermath in 2022..  

Last year I made the point to call peaple, to sit in kitchens explaining what was coming.. I was able to really get that push out a few weeks before the rush, before the lock down, before the sent home.. 

This time I do not have that urge, I feel no need really..  those that want to be prepared are and those that don’t are not..  I feel only for those who have had their own personal SHTF moments be that due to job loss, death due to the pandemic, be that covid, drugs overdose, missed cancer treatments, missed surgeries, or climate change..  All the peaple in BC who have no homes to go back to, all those peaple in the states who have had their lives ripped apart, those in my own province that have had their homes an farms pulled apart by the winds (we got lucky and only had one of my big garage barn doors taken out by the 110 km hour winds) 

I am preparing beautiful Christmas Boxes for a few special families, I am beyond grateful for the one in person visit we got in Nov, it was wonderful to break bread and share a meal, words, smiles, laughs and seeds an compost lol.. 

I had planned on doing some visiting when I delivered the boxes but I expect now, I will be more along the line of drop them off and wishing them a wonderful holiday.. but I think that the visiting will have to wait.. because we are going hermit mode

I do not want to go hermit, it was not in the game plan but life at the moment is laughing at a number of our bigger “plans” so I am pulling inward..  We are pulling inward..  

Dear Hubby is on the 3rd last chapter for his first massive full length novel, as well as having a number of short stories written (more on them at a later point 🙂  We will continue to live, work and thrive on the farm and if that is the case.. then we will have a better 2022 then many millions will and I am trying to keep that in mind. 

With the holidays here, I am hoping to stay more on the lighter side of things but I will give fair warning that I expect I am going to get darker on a number of Jan posts.. 


I hope you are finding those moments of joy.. we all need them! 










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One more month in Declutter 365..


Hello December, Where has the year flown? 

We set a goal of 365 declutter for the year and its been both a very good thing and a challenge.. a good thing as it means I have been very aware of things coming into the house and I can honestly say that we have bought or brought in maybe 10 to 15% of the amount we do in a normal year (I do love my second hand shops) I have spent most of the year saying, use what I have or do I really need 6 of those, when 4 will do..  I am certainly NOT throwing away things unless they are damaged so badly that parts can not be used and or they should not be reused.. otherwise, they have found their way to new to them second hand homes or placements.

With a month to go, even though I have meet my goals for the year already, I am going to get a box or two and I am going to challenge myself to see if I can lean down another 31 items a min of one each day for the month of Dec, with the overall goal of 1 to 3 each day or 7 to 21 per week.. 

Ps, Uther says, I am the best! nicknac, can’t get rid of me ma.. me for life!



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