This winter I’ve been focused on clearing out – using up what’s on hand and replacing with fresh if need be. It’s amazing how things just sorta sit in the cupboard getting old, and it happens all through the house if I’m not on my toes.
Some things get old gracefully and it doesn’t matter if we hoard them. Case in point: candles. My mother was a candle hoarder and I guess I inherited that tendency from her. In fact, I still have some of her candles on the farm. I suspect Mother kept some candles as an emergency precaution against the time when she might be without electricity, and candles should always be part of our readiness plan. But rotation is good is every aspect of life, and this year I’m using my candles – tea candles, votive candles, pillars, tapers, jar candles, and decorative candles. I’ve made good progress in using up what I have on hand, and I will replace them.
Other things get old, too. My towels are rags before I part with them – likewise my sheets. Let’s not even talk about the underwear drawers. Then there’s Mike’s wardrobe. Identifying a box of rags in the attic years ago, Clint remarked that for Mike they would be everyday clothes.
More important is the food. I like to have staples on hand, but sometimes they stay on the shelf longer than I realize. This winter I’ve paid attention to expiration dates on cans and packages as I cook, and I’ve also researched my supplies and planned meals around goods that need to be used. I’ve combined partial packages of baking chips and dried fruits in cookies, and I’ve tossed a few things.
It’s amazing what gets old. I found a tube of toothpaste on the farm with an expiration of 2008. (I used it anyway – shhhhh.) But the winner is the jar of “IcyHot.”
Mike tweaked his back last week and when that happens, he asks me to massage it, and this time he made a new request – rub in IcyHot.
“I bet that stuff expired 25 years ago,” I said.
“1991,” he read from the bottom of the jar. We laughed –and used it anyway. He said he felt some “iciness” from it and my hand felt “icy,” but I suspect its effectiveness isn’t what it was prior to 1991. Yes, it’s on my grocery list. KW
[Photos: Nellie learned long ago that Mike drops Sugar Babies and peanuts on the floor in the pantry and volunteered to keep it clean. It's a job she performs at least once a day -- usually while I cook supper. If the pantry door is closed, she waits patiently for me to open it.]