In The Garden, and Clearing Out

I am thinking about my garden again, and my plants in the Carolina room are doing well. I cut off the amaryllis leaves a few weeks ago and put it out in the cold. I brought it inside last week, hoping for another bloom this year. It didn’t bloom last year, and if it doesn’t grow this year, it may be done. It bloomed for seven years in a row, so I do think I got good value from it.

The orchid is teasing me again. It has put out several air roots, and recently looks like it may try to bloom again. Last time, I only got one flower that never fully opened.

It looks like it is trying to do two flowers, but we will see.

The goldfinch flock is back, with about a dozen of them starting to change back to their summer colors of bright yellow. There are nine, and maybe ten in this photo, and there were a few more on the ground.

The six bluebirds are still here, but I haven’t seen any sign that a pair has moved into the birdhouse.

The finches made it quite clear that they were looking for more suet. So I had to make another cake for them.

I mix bacon fat, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, oatmeal and corn grits together for them. My recipe for this is on my post Making a Meal for Our Feathered Friends.

I’ve saved a plastic container from a commercial cake. I line it with wax paper so mine come out the right size for the suet cage.

If you missed Friday’s post, we are starting our Safelight Project for 2023. There are several ways you can get involved with sewing and more. I hope we can get the project done in February and deliver the spa bags in mid-March.

On the clearing out front, I planned to have a lot of things go to donation before the end of January. Three boxes of books have already gone, and more are in process. Some of these Christmas books were donated, and I have to really decide about the Southern Living Series. I’ve collected them since they began publishing them in 1982, and I have every year up to 2018. I looked at a bunch this past season and didn’t make one project from them. Same thing goes for the Southern Living Cookbooks. I have every year from the beginning volume in 1979 up to 2017. I use only a few recipes over and over, so I should copy those for my recipe binder and donate the whole set. Something to think about. We’ll chat more about that later, as I cook so much differently now than I used to.

Progress is being made in the basement storage room, with dishes, kitchenware, charger sets and candle holders pulled for boxing up. This group will leave on Tuesday. I am being brutal, really cutting the amount of holiday things, especially the ones that don’t mean that much, like St Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day, or Mardi Gras. Fun days, sure, but I don’t need to store specialty items for a year for them. From here on, I’ll make a special meal for those days or we’ll have an outing.

I took the suggestion of using some of those mailers that cannot be recycled as pads between dishes. I cannot find the comment about using them this way, but thank you to whomever said that! So much to do in the coming weeks to lighten the load, make space in the house, and move some things on to others. I hope that someone else will experience the little thrill that I got when I acquired these things in thrift stores.

I still haven’t gotten to the closet yet. But maybe on the next rainy day I can make progress. Here’s another spot where I just need to be brutal, discarding things I may never wear again. I also need to donate those things that I keep pulling out to perhaps wear, then I put them back again. Several blouses and some sweaters fit that description, I liked them on the hangers, but I just don’t actually put them on and leave the house. So, someone else may enjoy them.

Today is football, chatting with friends online, and enjoying the day. I’ll be going through some of those books to donate while I watch the games. It is supposed to turn cooler, finally. I have some rocks painted with a base coat, just waiting for me to finish, and I’ll show you those soon. I have some cards to make, and I need to decide about making some more paper with the dried rose petals I have been saving. I have the top assembled for Quadrille, and now it needs borders, plus I have two more projects in progress in the sewing room. So, plenty to keep me busy, around pickleball. What’s keeping you busy these days? How are your clean out projects going?

24 thoughts on “In The Garden, and Clearing Out

  1. thanks to you talking of clearing out excess I got started on some a couple weeks ago and gently put the thought in my husbands head for his closet and he decided last week that he needs to clean his closet and got started last week – this was entirely his idea and I had nothing to do with planting the idea in his head LOL – it is the only way to get him to do something like this – it has to be his idea. But anyway thank you as now for the first time in years he is voluntarily getting rid of some things instead of me picking and choosing some things I know he will not miss and gradually get rid of some of it.

  2. Julie

    January is the perfect time for a reorganize & clean out. When you’re stuck inside you really notice what’s taking up space & ponder whether you need it. As you noted, if you’re cooking or dressing differently, is everything still relevant? My library is hosting a Craft Swap! In addition to the books I was donating, I dropped off enough yarn for an afghan.

  3. When I packed up the Christmas decorations and the things were all out of the house, I put my foot down about what went back on the shelves of the buffet. Most of what I love gets lost in the jumble and I left 3/4 in boxes in the garage. Plan is to rotate to something different in March. Traveling for several weeks and that’s all I managed

  4. I am so intrigued by your wanting to make paper! and from rose petals! How do you do that? You are inspiring me to go after my own closet. Having recently cleaned out my dad’s house, I know that mine is in dire need.

  5. I think you are doing the right thing, sorting out your belongings, books and clothes and donating them now. You will feel so much “lighter” as a result. I have tried to go through drawers and cupboards at regular intervals over the years but am still amazed at how much still accumulates. I intend to weed out Quilt books next but haven’t been well recently so that’s on the back burner for now.

  6. Patty Brenner

    My husband has been on a business trip the past 2 weeks (he comes home a week from today). I took advantage of that time to go through a lot of stuff in our Arizona home (not his things, lol, more general house stuff). It is exhausting, but the payoff was dropping off a truckload at St Vincent de Paul yesterday. I have 2 rooms of the house (the office that I use when I’m here since I work remotely, and my son’s old room) actually tidy and usable with a lot less dust catchers. It’s hard to get started on these projects, but gets easy once I start purging. On the amaryllis front – I have a volunteer plant at our Texas home. I think the previous owners threw out the bulb because I have one that comes up and blooms every year between my rain barrel and the slab foundation. I’ve never been able to dig it up to replant because the rain barrel is so heavy. It’s completely neglected but gives beautiful flowers every year 🙂

  7. Michele B

    For those individuals who would like to purge their magazines and books, please think about donating them to your local VA hospital or clinic in your area. The magazines must be less than a year old and no personal information on the addressee. Last month, I saw a selection on quilting and sewing while I was waiting on getting my blood drawn and there were about 10 women veterans reading donated books!

  8. You do stay busy…Why do we thing we all need so much stuff. I’m cleaning out..again..and there always seems to be more. When the community ladies get together for lunch once a month they sometime want to play BINGO …bring a small gift..UGH..I done want any more stuff…

  9. You’re doing a great job with your winter clean-out! Using those old mailer pieces for padding in between the plates is a great idea. I’m getting ready for cataract surgery tomorrow (and then the other eye in 2 weeks), so haven’t ended up joining in on Quadrille, but will print out and save the directions. I’m not sure what sewing will be like for awhile with one eye different than the other and my glasses possibly not being very useful until I get a new prescription after both eyes are done. It will be fun to follow along, though!

  10. mlmcspadden

    I too am cleaning out yet again. Going through the stash and downsizing it. I have way too much , much more than I could use in 2 lifetimes……..think 5-10,000 yards. Ones that are no longer ones that I’d use are going out, a lot for donation and some along the way to friends or being listed for sale. Am also going thru other things as I get to them because I don’t need all this stuff!

  11. Linda

    I was just telling a friend that I have a quilt top to finish that I absolutely hate. I hate the pattern and I hate the fabric, but it’s for my daughters new home and the colors are perfect for that. To avoid working on it, I have gone through all of my quilt books and organized them and pulled out a pile for donation. I print loads of online patterns and I now have them organized, in page protectors, and filed away in marked binders. Same for all of my apparel/accessory patterns. The envelopes are put in binders and the rest of it get filed in manila envelopes. And I have a lot of them. Need to purge them next. I have taped together several PDF patterns and put them away. I have reorganized my fabric/cutting room a bit so that my cutting table can be clear. I may have to start work on that quilt again because I may have just run out of excuses…. Btw, this is going to say Jack Ladner probably but it’s really Linda. 😜

  12. Sue Hoover

    My 89-1/2 year old mother has been slowly moving in with us so I’ve been cleaning out the upstairs to make space for her things. I’ve got a load of clothes for donation and quite a bag full of quilting items for the guild Free Table. With your advice, my amaryllis plant from last year has re-bloomed but it only has the flower stalk — no leaves. I hope it puts up leaves soon since those are what feed it during the non-blooming season. Thanks for all the tips!

  13. Sandra B

    Purging must be on a lot of people’s minds these days! We totally cleaned out our attic about five years ago. Recently, we turned our attention to the basement. It is going slowly, but we are making progress. As time goes on, we are finding it easier to let things go. I hope we can finish up this winter. I don’t know if that is a realistic expectation, but we are hopeful. I am loving how much better the basement looks already, with just what we have accomplished so far! Fingers crossed that we won’t run out of steam!!
    Good luck with your purging!

  14. Joan Sheppard

    You are amazing! Every time I try to get rid of things a flood of memories washes over me. I’m trying to take a picture of anything that makes me feel like that and give to someone else to make a special memory. Success rate – nominal – but I’m trying! Love the garden and birds! Thanks

  15. Marcia in TX

    I have bought suet twice and twice I had to throw it away because the birds won’t touch it. However, the suet holder became so filthy from the fat. How do you clean yours?

  16. You are really on a roll with the decluttering! My main goal this year is to use up stuff left over from past projects. I am currently focused on the yarn, making hats that will “dress” the president statues down town, for the homeless to choose as needed. I am on hat #3 and expect to have another 4-5 before I am done. It will be great to have those odds and ends knit together into smart looking winter stocking hats.

  17. Sharon Vrooman

    They say January is a good month to do ‘clear out’ and I am doing so as well. I am a minamalist but I am finding things that just don’t need holding on to,

  18. What an inspiring post, Carole! That envelope/dishes hint is a terrific one. I often use stray napkins but they don’t really provide much protection. Count that as a plus. And I am saving your suet cake recipe link. The birds seem to love those and it would be nice to make my own.

    Cleaning and sorting. My nemesis. Rick got on a cleaning jag on my house yesterday, unfortunately a day when my back/neck were at their worst and I really couldn’t help, which was both embarrassing and frustrating to me! He found corners I should have dealt with long ago. But it was a good impetus to get me going on some of the stuff I just don’t need/use anymore. Your Southern Living selection really resonated with me on that score. My nemesis, years and years of Somerset Studio magazines. I don’t really do much stamping or mixed media anymore and the work is rather sophisticated and really beautiful publications. I want to find them a HOME, not just recycle. I thought it would be easy on FB — nope. Artist-types already have them!

    Ah well — as I said, you are inspiring me with this, so thank you!

  19. Great to see all the colourful bird life. I am sure they always appreciate the Winter food.
    I always find it hard to get rid of plants, but if they are past their best, then it has to be done.
    Good luck as you continue to sort pack donations.. I have found it worthwhile and am now far more thoughtful about what I buy and collect. I had no problems giving aay sets of magazines as I realised I hadn’t looked at them for years, and that the projects were out of date. Of course the problem is now that we have such easy access to everything via the internet and we don’t use our books any more.
    I just keep telling myself that I am making it easier for my children to sort out our house when I am gone. Hopefully that is a long time away.

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