Classics Club Review - Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Having read this book quite a few months ago, I'm long overdue with my Classics Club review, but better late than never.

This copy is part of a set of six that I own that includes the aforementioned Little Women.

I can't say that I enjoyed this story as much as I did Little Women. It seemed much heavier on the moralism and seems to preach the gospel of good works as sufficient to get people into heaven. That goes against all that the Bible teaches and contradicts its message of salvation through grace and faith alone because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

But the characters are loveable and the care that Jo (Mrs. Bhaer) takes of the young men in their boarding school is inspirational. Some lessons had to be learned the hard way, but relationships were put to rights as quickly as possible and love ruled the day. The story of the wild orphan, Dan, is rather endearing.

And, as I enjoy sipping on tea as I read, I'll again mention the delights of the Alcott literary tea from Simpson and Vail Tea.

It was interesting to see the boys grow up and see what became of them as adults in Jo's Boys, but that's a separate book for later.

This review is for Classics Club as well as Belle's Library Victorian Reading Challenge.

Home Again! October OMG, & Week's Goals

 It is soooo good to be home again and to hope to be so for a few weeks at least. I have been making the six hour trip to Cleveland, staying 4-5 days, driving home for 3-5 days since mid-September and I'm ready to tuck in for the fall and winter. I'm sure I'll be going back again since my aunt's health is precarious and my 88-year-old mom struggles to handle it all. But for now, I'm going to enjoy northern Michigan's gorgeous autumn colors though they are nowhere near peak.

I also hope to remedy the fact that my sewing room and I have been like two ships that pass in the night. I've had fun with my cross-stitching and crocheting while traveling, but am ready to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine.

To that end, I'm actually setting my One Monthly Goal for this month as well as a few side goals. We'll see how that goes. My main goal is to catch up with the Sew Scrappy Spools quiltalong. I'm not even sure how much of it I have done, or how much I'm supposed to have done. 😑 So, I'll have to ascertain that a.s.a.p.

The secondary goal(s) is/are to finish the long overdue Christmas quiltalong flimsies from Joy. I had started a Christmas-themed one and a child-themed one.

Week's Goals - I have a lot of catching up to do...


* Finish harvesting; ripen any green tomatoes in the house; clean out garden beds

* Prune trees and bushes as able

* Build an ivy trellis?

* Hunt for more shelving and build more rabbit and quail cages


* Get back into the groove of the housekeeping chores

* Make apple butter

* Start Fall cleaning - Make plan and do a little each day


* Play on OMG (Sew Scrappy Spools)

* Play on secondary OMGs (Joy's Christmas quiltalong)

* Play with Commonplace journal - decor, quotes, etc.

* Finish cross-stitch mugs and set up autumn one on coffee bar (Kate Stitcher Designs)

Letter-writing: (after listening to two Jane Austen books as I drove, I'm very letter-writing inspired)

* Write to Aunt P.

* Write to Deb S.

* Write to Deb B.

I hope your week is delightfully stuffed with beauty, accomplishment, and joy.

Changed Priorities

 As it will, life has temporarily changed drastically and thus priorities need to change. My widowed aunt was put on hospice care, needing to move to a skilled nursing facility, and my 88-year-old Mom is her power of attorney and nearest blood relative. So Mom needed support and help in Cleveland (6.5 hours away from me). So I've been at Mom's off and on since the 11th, packing up my aunt's independent living apartment, dealing with getting a secondary POA down here, stopping the myriads of junk mail and donation requests that generous older people seem to get, answering my mom's forgetfully repeated questions, praising God for beautiful nature spots in the midst of a huge city, trying to make sure Aunt's step kids get what 

they want all while under the orders of a very smart and usually alert aunt.

So I haven't even seen my sewing room in the past few weeks, but have enjoyed finishing a crocheted baby afghan (which I forgot the photograph), starting a new one, 

and continuing my four seasons of mugs from Kate Stitcher on Facebook.

It's sure nice to have some portable crafts.

I've also enjoyed some reading (of course!), like this inspiring book:

In case you can't see the title well, it says Grounded.

Also this thought-provoking older book:

On my Kindle I'm enjoying The Last Guardsman by Rhonda Chandler. It's the first book in the World of AllHallen series, an interesting fantasy adventure.

And I'm having the adventure of teaching an old dog new tricks - how to blog on my phone instead of on the laptop. 😁

So this week's goals are to wrap things up with the old apartment before the end of the month, get home at least for a few days, catch up on harvest and housework, and maybe have some fun working on the Scrappy Spools sew-along which has been long-neglected. 

Oh, here's another inspiring and helpful book. 😊

Hope your week is full of wonder and a restful spirit, like finding a beautiful spot of nature's calm.

Adventures Galore! and Hopes and Goals

Well, the day after my last post, my car was violently rear-ended by a woman who didn't stop when the rest of us did for the car turning left in front of us. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

I was able to drive home where my husband pronounced the car undriveable till he could replace the mufflers and exhaust pipe and we ended up needing a new tire too because the muffler had rubbed against it so much that it was ruined. Sigh. I wish I'd thought to try to bend the muffler away from it.

The woman's car was totalled. Still no injuries.

 Being an older car, the cost to repair the dent damage would be more than the car is worth. 😕 So, I'll be driving a dented car for awhile. But all this has taken a bunch of time because of Michigan's silly no-fault insurance law. So, to get reimbursed for even just the repair work to make it driveable again, I have to chase all around Robin Hood's barn for estimates and talk to insurance people and may have to go to small claims court. Sigh.

I've also been occupied with the homesteading work and was tickled to harvest my first nectarine - so juicy (downright dribbly) and sweet!

Green beans are producing well, and the tomatoes are ripening up. Yay! Salad greens were attacked by some teeny bugs that really bug me. I harvested the least messed up ones, washed them thoroughly, and have some drying for powdering for smoothies.

Progress has been slowly made on the "Critter Corner" where we plan to raise quail and meat rabbits while also hoping to let the rabbits forage somewhat.


Miss Pretty-pretty like to help


This is the first quail cage which will be divided into three parts to house three "clutches" - five hens and one rooster.

This is the cage for two mama rabbits which still needs a divider and more zip ties for sturdiness.
The cages will hang from the ceiling while also being hooked to the wall so they won't swing.


And, when you spill some blobs of paint on the floor, used your non-existent art skills to try to make them look like rabbits. 😊

I've also gotten to press some flowers and leaves for card-making, or candle jars, or ??? and stored them in my new 7 Elements drawer thingy.

I also spent a day and a half visiting my brother's family a couple of hours away while my mom was there for a few days.

So, it's no wonder that I haven't been in the sewing room much, or blogged much.

I did finish one block of Joy's Christmas in July Quilt (the child-themed version). Progress!

And I started this cute fall mug cross-stitch from Kate Stitcher Cross-stitch Designs on Facebook.

So, goals, dreams, hopes for this next week:

On the Homestead:
* Get remaining supplies to finish Critter Corner
* Learn more about perennial onions
* Harvest oregano and comfrey to dry for feeding rabbits
* Prepare to raise fodder for rabbits and quails

In the Home/Kitchen:
* Preserve beans
* Bake cookies for church fellowship
* Prepare lunch for friend fellowship on Thursday

In the Easy Chair:
* Continue making premie hats for New Life Pregnancy Care
* Start a baby afghan for NLPC
* Work on fall mug cross-stitch

In the Reading Nook (which is anywhere):
* Continue "Soul Revolution" by John Burke (slowly marinating in this one)
* Continue "The Seven-Step Homestead" by Leah M. Webb (lots of good information here)
* Continue "Under the Lilacs" by L.M. Alcott
* Lots of other books in the works, too 😁

I may have jury duty on Friday. I wonder if I can bring my handwork. I'll try, of course.

May your week be full of wonder, happy surprises, and glimpses of God's great love for us.

Report and New Goals - Aug 7-12

 Well, this past week wasn't overly successful in the realm of stated goals, but I did get some good things done and hope to do more in the upcoming week. I think since it's garden preservation time, my choice of OMG is a little unrealistic. It's kinda time-consuming and complex. So I'm not gonna kick myself if I don't get it done. In fact, any progress on it will be a thrill.

So, besides that, here were last week's goals:

In the sewing nook:

* Catch up on Christmas in July quilt-along Didn't get into sewing nook at all

* Now that I have my new lightbox, get back to Everyday Emboidery Got too busy with other stuff

* Finish up the last bits of the pillowcase embroidery and sew it together. Still didn't get into sewing nook

In the garden/homestead:
* Spread vermicompost everywhere (Yup, I'm thinking of the line in "Hello, Dolly" about money only      being good if, like manure, it's spread around.) Happily done
* Keep harvesting and preserving, particularly the beans & greens Done
* Begin building rabbit cages, at least two With the stuff I already had, I built a buck cage and a 3-section quail cage

Since I got my cage wire (closet shelving) at Restore and had just grabbed up a bunch of it, I had quite a variety of sizes and shapes and some were not quite long enough. But...I AM A QUILTER...therefore I can do patchwork. 😁

With my trusty assistant, Charlie, AKA George, AKA Grog, AKA Your Majesty, I zip-tied it all together into a fairly respectable buck cage and quail condo (not pictured).

* Call the dude about a California buck rabbit Done, though it was the dudette who answered the phone. They're holding one for me.

In my easy chair:
* Finish reading - The Sustainable Homestead by Angela Farraro-Fanning Done. Good read though nothing astounding
* Read from On Getting Out of Bed by Alan Noble Did some. This one takes much rumination.
* Read from Year of No Garbage by Eve O. Schaub Only got into the introduction
* Read from Soul Revolution by John Burke Good stuff. Part of my morning quiet time with the Lord.

In the community:
* Volunteer at animal shelter Yes. Wish I could bring them all home (not the dogs; I'm not a dog person, but I'm kind to them anyhow.)

* Get to know more people at new church I did it! I walked up to someone and started a conversation and it was nice.

So now, as I sip on my coffee float (made from leftver coffee and ice cream), I'll state the goals for this upcoming week.

On the homestead/garden/preservation kitchen
* Keep up with harvesting and preserving garden produce

Besides fermenting my collection of multi-colored beans, I'm also canning some in pints. I've not done much pressure canning since I used to freeze my produce in plastic baggies. But I'm trying to purge myself from as much plastic as possible plus I'd like to have some foods readily available and safe if the power goes out (blizzards are not uncommon up here). So this is kind of a new adventure for me.

* Figure out if I can revamp my compost system without getting stung by the yellow jackets which have set up house therein. I may have to wait till after frost.

* Harvest and dry herbs

* Plan and draw mosaic layout for Hobbit Hole walls - The Hobbit Hole was our quarantine project when we needed an egress to the basement bedroom. We got a little carried away and turned it into a little patio area...

...with some gardening added to the terraces.

Last year I did a little mosaic and left it through the winter to see how it would do. It survived, so I hope to do lots more, slowly but surely.

* Harvest and press more flowers for cardmaking and other crafts

At the sewing machine: (let's hope I can actually get there)

* Cut out and sew at least 5 bib/burpie sets for New Life Pregnancy Care Center (I popped into the newly discovered center on Thursday and was greeted with an enthusiastic hug when I said I wanted to sew and crochet for the babies, so I'm excited to be able to serve this way.)

* Catch up on Christmas in July quilts

* Choose at least one row of my row quilt/OMG to work on

In my handwork chair: (while helping Father Brown and Miss Marple solve murder mysteries)

* Finish the newly begun (squirrel!) cross-stitch bib for the pregnancy center

* Continue working on this also newly begun dragonfly baby afghan for New Life 
(Pattern here:

I was tickled to find a bunch of full skeins of yarn for a good price at Goodwill just before I stopped in at New Life, so I bought some, thinking to make Linus quilt/blankets, but found a more local use. I think I have enough for four afghans. Oh, joy!

In my reading chair: (which is often the same as my handworking chair)

* Skim The Seven-Step Homestead by Leah M. Webb
* Study The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher
* Continue marinating in Soul Revolution by John Burke
* Continue Eight Cousins by L.M. Alcott

Well, I'd better quit jabbering and get at some of these things. Have a delightful week!

Accomplishments and New OMG Goal

Finally! We have some beautiful, clear skies instead of smoke-dimmed views. Grand Traverse Bay looked it's usual beautiful self as we trekked in to get more building materials for our Critter Corner on Saturday.

In the garden, strawberries have definitely slowed down, but being everbearing, I might get more later, and the raspberries are going strong though I won't get too many cuz our bushes are just babies yet. But they're making enough to flavor our morning kefir smoothies, so I'm happy.

I found a cool harvesting apron at Goodwill that was brand new and am making use of it in harvesting my very thickly planted beans. 

The tall plants are fava beans - a new one for me

The apron enables me to pick with two hands since I don't have to try to haul a basket around with nowhere to set it. I look a little like a kangaroo, nickname as a little girl was Kimmy Kangaroo, so, it fits.

In the sewing nook, I did finish my OMG project by the end of the month, but didn't get it reported in time. I'm sure I'll survive. This will go in my collection of donation flimsies to probably send to Jo's Country Junction.

 I've also made good progress at catching up with Joy's quilt-along. This first picture of of the child's version which I'm making to donate.

Here's the Christmas version which I will probably gift, but might keep as a lap quilt.

This week's goals:

In the sewing nook:
* Organize and start my August OMG (#12 as assigned by the American Patchwork and Quilting's       UFO  Challenge on FB), providentially the quilt my daughter wants me to finish up and give to her 😊

* Catch up on Christmas in July quilt-along

* Now that I have my new lightbox, get back to Everyday Emboidery

* Finish up the last bits of the pillowcase embroidery and sew it together.

In the garden/homestead:
* Spread vermicompost everywhere (Yup, I'm thinking of the line in "Hello, Dolly" about money only      being good if, like manure, it's spread around.)
* Keep harvesting and preserving, particularly the beans & greens
* Begin building rabbit cages, at least two
* Call the dude about a California buck rabbit

At my desk:
* Write to A.P.
* Card to B.K.
* Birthday card to DD1

In my easy chair:
* Finish reading - The Sustainable Homestead by Angela Farraro-Fanning
* Read from On Getting Out of Bed by Alan Noble
* Read from Year of No Garbage by Eve O. Schaub
* Read from Soul Revolution by John Burke

In the community:
* Volunteer at animal shelter
* Get to know more people at new church

Well, besides the usual housekeeping and trying some new things in the kitchen, that ought to keep me well-occupied for awhile.

I hope your week is full of the blessings of the Lord!