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Scattered Sundays – Sustainable Cooks

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Scattered Sundays – Sustainable Cooks


There are very silly and arbitrary rules around the furnace and wood stove in the Cook household. I created these rules, everyone but me hates them, and they really have zero reason for existing.

Rule one: absolutely do not turn on the furnace before October 1st, you silly silly males. It’s not winter. If you’re cold, stop walking around in shorts and a t-shirt. There are these really amazing inventions called socks. Try them.

Usually by September 15th, Troy and I are snapping at each other over the furnace. I remind him that it might be a little chilly in the mornings, but by 11 am, there is enough solar gain in the house for it to be comfortable. Just hold off a liiiiiiittle longer.

With our absolutely bonkers late-fall weather, not only have we not fought about the furnace, but we had to use the AC the other day. Seriously, it was October 2nd, we used the AC for two hours. Note that in the record books, cause this ish is bananas.

Jack had a soccer game that afternoon, and I was in a skort, t-shirt, and flip-flops. I had two umbrellas with me; not to protect me from rain but from THE SUN. I used one umbrella for my legs, and the other to protect my head, face, and shoulders. It takes a lot of work to stay this pasty.

Rule two: we cannot use the wood stove until November 1st. This one has a slightly practical reason, and that is we simply don’t have enough storage space to keep a lot of firewood on the property.

In previous years that has led us to make sure we’re rationing firewood appropriately, and some years we have had our firewood guy (his name is Larry and he’s in my phone as Larry the Firewood Guy) make a delivery in February.

In spring of 2021, we invested in new windows for our living and dining room, and that change made a huge impact on our firewood consumption. We used at least 30% less firewood from November 2021-March 2022.

And we’ve already had our wood delivery for the year (what up, Larry) and our firewood shelter is absolutely packed three rows deep. TWSS. Seriously, we couldn’t fit much more in this glorious demonstration of nerdy adult Tetris. (you can see a picture of that in this post).

A solid firewood storage + more efficient windows + a super warm Fall might lead one to think that I would relax my woodstove rule should the weather change.

One would be wrong about that. Arbitrary rules are arbitrary rules and I remind the boys that it is character-building. And to go put on some damn socks.

a kid with 2 stuffed cats on his head.

I had a lovely birthday. After Bennett was home sick earlier in the week (yes, seriously. Again. I’m going to scream), he did go back to school on my birthday. I took a nice walk, Troy got me a coffee, and I hit up our town’s chamber of commerce to get some new stickers for our church’s exterior doors.

Pretty wild day; you can find footage of it on my upcoming reality show “Nobody Cares, Sarah”. I requested tofu pho for dinner and the big boys had sandwiches, and the little boy had grocery store sushi.

And then we had a little party on Friday with family that Troy. We had pizza and ice cream cake (thanks to my inlaws) and a delicious salad thanks to my sister. It was perfect and small and didn’t involve me deep-cleaning the house.

a fake Marvel photo of a little boy attacking Thanos.
Troy’s handiwork, of course. Also, notice the stuffed kitty in his hands along with the hatchet.

The day before my birthday, I really lit up the town while Jack was at soccer. (Speaking of reality show footage) I scored some old bananas at a grocery store for a recipe I needed to photograph AND found a cozy sweater and some discounted Madewell jeans at Goodwill. I really need to slow down; life is getting intense with all this excitement.

quiche on the floor.
Whomp whomp. Photoshoots gone wild.

I had a successful week of photographing recipes, which means my dishwasher had a successful week of working overtime. Unless something happens (narrator: it will), I’ll be on track to finish this upcoming week with all my photos for all posts needed before Thanksgiving. Phew! That will give me six full weeks for post-surgery recovery.

I also slowly started running again this week. I stopped in mid-summer when it felt like I was running through Jell-o with each step that I took. We later realized it was my low ferritin levels, which were fixed with my ablation surgery/procedure in August.

And then I just didn’t want to run. It was too hot and took up too much time with the kids home from school. After my surgery in two weeks, I can’t run for eight weeks again, but I might as well go into that being a little stronger than I am now.

dough on the floor.
Whomp whomp pt II. What’s a little biscuit dough on the floor amongst friends?

In the Garden This Week

Almost nothing has happened this week, except for pulling all the sunflowers from the garden and giving them to the chickens. They were absolutely delighted.

Jack has confirmation class this afternoon at church, and when we get home I’m pulling the rest of the carrots and beets from one of the raised beds, and folding up one of our DIY trellises until next spring.

My favorite farmer’s market vendor is supposed to have lettuce starts for me really soon, and I’m hoping that can happen ASAP. I want to get them planted and established so that Troy doesn’t have to do much to keep them alive while I’m recovering from surgery.

The lettuce that I planted in September is growing nicely and I’m going to be able to do a small harvest this coming week of the outer leaves. I don’t want to take too much, but just enough to encourage them to keep on growing.

Raspberries are still trucking along, and this is definitely the longest we have been enjoying them without dealing with mold issues from the rain. Jack, my berry-fiend, is picking/eating multiple pints per day. That child loves berries like no one you have ever met.

I have basically thrown in the towel with picking the blueberries (yes, they’re STILL producing), and the blue jays are my biggest fans. Go for it birds, I’m too busy. Enjoy.

What I’m reading this week

I finished Cherry and it was daaaaark. Think: Trainspotting meets Catcher in the Rye meets Jarhead meets The Things We Carried. It was good but exhausting.

I needed a palette cleanser after such a stressful book and started Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life With 600 Rescue Animals. Not only is it more light-hearted, but it was also 30% shorter than Cherry and I needed something I could fly through.