Tuesday, February 9, 2016
February is a good month for me to . . .
(I have to say, is a great month for me to do, on this first one, as it really, really needs it)
. . . clean up and organize the pantry! The pantry is just a helter-skelter of staples, cans here and there, bags on the floor, odd bits in containers. It just all needs some organization, some pouring into containers, and some moving older items to the front. This is easily a full day's work. But February is one of the best months to do this, as the pantry is now beginning to look like we've finally been eating some of this up, without adding a whole lot to replenish and build stock.
While I'll certainly enjoy looking at a cleaned-up pantry, the real benefit is knowing what we have and making sure that I actually use it, every last bit of whatever that "it" may be. Cuz, ya know, using what you already have is one of the best ways to save money for the things you don't have, but need. Like new windows, or replacement carpeting (keeping fingers crossed that can happen in another year).
. . . host a Valentine's Day brunch. My son will most likely want to spend Valentine's evening, alone with his girlfriend, and not with the entire family in company. So, I thought we'd do a Valentine's Day brunch right after church. On the menu -- we have to do these heart-shaped pancakes with a syrup of red currant jelly, melted and thinned with a little water, plus mini crustless quiches, orange juice, fruit salad (orange segments, dried cranberries and toasted almond slivers), coffee, tea and cocoa.
This should be a fun way to celebrate this Hallmark-y holiday. we've done family Valentine's breakfasts, family Valentine's dinners, and now, we'll start a new tradition of a Valentine's day brunch. And once again, we'll be just using what we have on hand. There will be no special trips to the market for anything extra. But that doesn't mean the menu will be lacking in any way. Using only what we have, here, simply means that I need to think a bit on the menu, and find creative ways of making brunch special.
. . . get more seeds started indoors. I can start onions, kale and cabbage indoors right now, to plant out in March. The lettuce seedlings are doing really well, in the flat under a light. Fresh salads, I'm a waitin' for ya!
. . . start the clean-up in the garden. February is a great month for us to begin garden clean-up. There are fewer weeds, the weeds are smaller, mid-month is a good time to prune rose bushes, here, the fruit trees need a good pruning, and if we work fast enough, we can get a layer of mulch down around the base of plants to prevent future weed pop-ups. With all of the rain we will receive between now and late spring, this is also a good time of year to move plants. I have some strawberry plants, under the cherry tree, which I'll dig up, give some away, and replant elsewhere. The tree gives too much shade now, for the strawberries, but I think part of this area will be good for daffodils. Yes, I'll be massing out some daffodils from those I planted in pots, this month. This spot is in view from the kitchen and the deck, so it should be a pleasant outlook on a dreary March day.
As cold as it is outdoors still, the thought of beautiful flowers in bloom is pretty good motivation to get me outside. In those pots of bulbs, on the deck, I have pink hyacinth, blue grape hyacinth, yellow and white daffodils, multi-hued tulips and purple and white crocus, all coming up. I am really excited for spring this year. I've been making plans for putting together a bulb basket for the kitchen table, with several pink hyacinth, for Easter. And a vase or two of daffodils would be so fresh and spring-like, too!
. . . order a portable greenhouse for the deck, so I can move plants/seedlings outside earlier in the year. Is this a toy or a tool? I think a bit of both. Either way, it will be a help to our garden, and put fresh veggies on our table sooner than usual.
. . . organize the upstairs linen closet. That closet is in shambles and could use some straightening. It's a very small closet, so it really needs to be kept tidy. I'll sort through all of the sheets, and label shelves, so it's clear what is what on each shelf. This would also be a good time to see what I can put aside for kids setting up their own housekeeping. I don't need to keep those items in the linen closet, but could bag them up for the cedar chest.
An overwhelming situation in our house is closets, pantries and cupboards which need a good straightening. The cooler days of winter are a great time for me to tackle these, and I have little desire to be outdoors.
Yet, this is also a good time to get myself outdoors, as weeds are at a minimum. Plus, if I transplant plants now, they'll do well this spring. And plants like rose bushes and fruit trees need to be pruned this time of year. So, I will have to make myself get out there, despite the chill. I think there's a hot cup of cocoa waiting for me, when I come back inside as my reward. that's another thing February is good for -- sipping hot cocoa. I'll take mine with a marshmallow, please!
What's on your plan for this month?