Thursday, August 25, 2016

Most Times...

I am perfectly content with my life.

But today I am not content.  It might have something to do with our local news reporting about the abduction, rape and murder of a sweet little five year old girl at the hands of a "family friend."  Or maybe it was the story of a father beating his two year old child to a bloody pulp.  Or perhaps it was just the reports of the latest "protest" in Minneapolis turning violent and ugly.  Could have been the alternative news sources jam-packed with tales of lies and corruption associated with our government.  Whatever the reason, I would like to check out just for today..

I would like to be here...

or here...

or here.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.  At least, I have hope that it will.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Walking the Walk

I have a confession to make.  I am not nearly as prepared as I would like to think I am.  I realized this when I discovered I didn't even have a nine volt battery in the house for the smoke alarm, and when I had to wait a day or two before I could do some canning because I had allowed my stash of canning lids to nearly run out.  I know these are only two small things, but if I don't have on hand this small, necessary  stuff, then it stands to reason that I am probably lacking in some of the bigger, more important supplies.

Minnesota can be beautiful in the winter with a blanket of snow on the ground and the tree branches covered in frost.

But Mother Nature can turn mean and throw a blizzard at us almost in the blink of an eye.  The Halloween blizzard in 1991 featured wind gusts up to 60 mph.  My area received over 28 inches of snow and other areas got over 36 inches of the white stuff before the storm blew itself out, leaving 10 foot snow drifts in many places.  I have seen temperatures drop into the minus 30 degree range during the first week of November.  Mother Nature can give us some glorious days, but she can also sneak up on us and smack us upside the head, just to remind us who is really in charge.

It is the memory of those winter conditions that should have made me pay better attention to my preps.  I am well stocked in some areas like home canned and dehydrated foods.  I have water stored, but not nearly enough.  And I have yet to buy a decent water filter system.  I have medical supplies stashed away, but recently realized I didn't have enough of the supplies I needed to treat cellulitis, which if left untreated, can become life threatening.  And I don't have nearly enough of common medical needs like aspirin or vitamins.

Seems I am better at talking the talk than I am at walking the walk.

It doesn't matter much what a person is preparing for.   Each of us have a scenario in mind.  Could be our economy winds up in the dumpster.   Might be we get a bat-guano crazy elected president this time around.  Or that jokester Mother Nature may just toss us curve ball.  Maybe nothing will happen, in which case we will have what we need on hand without having to run to the store every couple of days.

Sometimes I have been known to use the excuse of my age or my medical conditions to put off what I need to do.  That is really stupid.  Should my grands show up here in a crisis, (And they will.  Grandma is the one with all the extra food.) how on earth will I look them in the eye if I don't have the basics of what they need.  After all, it is for them and my children that I prepare.  Oh, I prepare for myself, too, but Moms tend to do for family first.  That's how we are wired.

So if you will excuse me, I need to get busy.  It seems I have some work to do.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

So About 3:30 AM...

I am settling in to sleep.  Yes, I know it is late, but sometimes I sleep and sometimes, not so much.  I had just gotten comfy when I heard...CHIRP.  Loud like that.  Half a minute later...CHIRP.  And it continued at 30 second intervals.  Stupid smoke alarm.  If it is going to decide the battery needs changing, it could at least have the decency to make that decision during daylight hours.  Not at 3 bloody 30 in the AM!!

So now I have two problems.  The first is that due to leg issues I can no longer climb up on my little step stool/ladder thing to reach the stupid smoke alarm.  The second is that I don't have a battery to fit the alarm even if I could reach it.  Drat.

What I do have, thank goodness, is a tall son who lives next door.  But I will not call him at 3:30 AM to come over and help me.  My kids say they are more than willing to help when needed, but I'm not going to wake him up just for something like this.  So I try to sleep, but the chirping won't let me.  I try to read for a while, but that doesn't work either.  Finally I fire up my computer and find a movie to watch in the hope that the sound will somewhat drown out the chirping.  No such luck.

About 7 AM I make the call.  Son says he will be right there.  That's a good thing, because another 15 minutes of CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP and I am in serious danger of being driven over the edge.  I am entertaining thoughts about getting out the shotgun to stop the constant chirping.  (No, I really wouldn't shoot the smoke alarm although the temptation is great.)

Son took the alarm down until I can get a replacement battery.  There is another alarm in the apartment, so I don't worry about one of them being out of commission.  Except this smoke alarm, when unplugged from the ceiling, still chirps.  And it starts yelling "FIRE,  FIRE" at regular intervals.  I wrap it in a couple of towels and shove it under two pillows.  At least I can no longer hear it when I am in the other end of the apartment.

I figure the rest of the day will be pretty good, having gotten this silliness out of the way.  But I think I may take a nap before starting anything this morning.  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Beef Roast, Strawberries and Soup

15 - 1/2 pounds of boneless chuck roast, cut into large pieces equaled 18 pints of canned beef roast.

12 pounds of strawberries equaled 11 quarts of  whole frozen berries, minus the pound I kept out to eat fresh.

I'm working on cleaning out the freezer in my fridge.  I found 4 bags of ham bones with quite a bit of meat still on them, four quart sized bags of frozen, diced carrots and several small bags of frozen diced onions.  Tomorrow morning the bones will be simmered and the ham removed and diced.  This will be added back to the broth along with the carrots, onions, four bags of dry split peas and some chicken bouillon for flavor.  When this has all cooked, it will go into pint jars and then into the pressure canner.  Split pea soup cans up really well and is good to have on hand for a quick meal.

 I also found three pork chops hiding in the back of the freezer.  They are thawing in the fridge and I think I will use them up over the weekend.  Maybe one with sauerkraut, one with sage dressing and another with a couple of fried eggs.  Found two chicken breasts back in a corner, too.  They will make supper for me tonight and one or two chicken sandwich lunches.

All together, I have unearthed enough frozen meat to keep me fed for at least a week.  Maybe more.  Guess I should clean out the freezer a little more often.  Ya think?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Just Life

There has been nothing earth shattering going on here in my little Home Sweet Apartment lately.  Just the usual Suzy Homemaker stuff.  I seriously doubt anyone cares to hear about my dish washing, floor scrubbing, toilet cleaning efforts.  I don't even care to hear about them.

The lady who takes my grocery order called yesterday.  Boneless chuck roast is on sale so I ordered 15 lbs.  I will cut this into pieces to fit into pint jars and can them.  Then whenever I want a roast beef dinner, I just dump the beef into a pan, add a jar of canned potato and carrot chunks, some onion and seasonings and bake it until it is heated through.

Strawberries at the Farmer's Market are done, but the store has them on sale so I ordered 12 lbs.  I haven't decided whether to freeze or can them, but am leaning more toward freezing.  I am down to maybe 3 packages of frozen strawberries in the freezer now, so that's probably where these will wind up.  I really like having frozen berries on hand, especially over the winter.  They seem to taste better somehow when summer is a long way off.

Granddaughter Boston called me last evening.  She knows that I worked at a dog grooming shop and that I have had a love of animals my whole life, so she wanted to ask me about a particular breed of dog.  Their family dog, Charlie the Beagle, died of old age earlier this year and the family is ready for a new dog in their lives.  Boston wanted to know about Golden Doodles, which are a cross breed of Golden Retriever and Standard Poodle.  The ones I worked with at the grooming shop were nice dogs with good personalities, especially the large ones.  There are some that have been bred down for a smaller size, and I can't say I was much impressed by those.  I found that downsizing the breed also seemed to downsize their intelligence.  That may have been just the individual dogs I saw, but the large Doodles seemed to be a much more well rounded dog and were more mellow.  I kind of hope they get one for I liked those I worked with.

Thinking about Boston's questions reminded me of another dog that was in my neighborhood.  Henry was a Labradoodle (Lab and Standard Poodle).  He was huge and looked like an Irish Wolfhound.  Henry was one of the best behaved dogs I have seen.  His owner walked Henry every day past my building.  Henry wore a leash because of the city ordinance requiring dogs to be leashed, but Henry carried the end of the leash in his mouth.  He walked himself.  Henry stayed next to his owner and always stopped and looked both ways before crossing a street.  But if he saw me a half a block away, he would look up at his owner who would give him permission, and then he would run toward me, full tilt.  To his credit, he always stopped short of knocking me down.  Henry loved to have his ears scratched and his head petted.  He would sit on the sidewalk next to me, reveling in the attention, until his owner caught up with him.  I think Henry must have moved away for I haven't seen him in a while.  I think I will call Boston and tell her about Labradoodles.

Yesterday afternoon I napped in my recliner.  Earlier I had checked the weather radar and there was no rain in sight.  I woke an hour or so later to the sounds of wind and rain and hail.  Looking out the window I found the rain coming down so hard that I could barely see across the street.  Sounded like someone was throwing pebbles against the front of my building.  Aparently a small storm cell developed right overhead.  I didn't know something that small could produce so much fury.  It was over as quikly as it appeared and left without doing any obvious damage.

And that is quite enough rambling for one morning.  After another cup of coffee, I believe today will be one of those dedicated to just puttering about.  Maybe a little sewing.  Maybe a little reading.  I have a recipe for soft ginger cookies I have been wanting to try and today seems like a good day for it.  The temperature is somewhat cooler than it has been so I don't mind having the oven on.  I like puttering days.  :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016


It is going on midnight.  I have opened a couple of windows to let the fresh air in.  I can listen to the raindrops hit on the ledge outside my living room windows.  The temperature has dropped 20 degrees since suppertime.

The rainfall in my town has been a bit odd this summer.  I watch the weather radar online when I know there is a chance of a storm headed my way.  This year the rain has fizzled out before it got here or it divided, part going north of us and part going to the south.

But tonight it has been raining for at least an hour and it looks like it will continue for a while.  Then behind that there is another line of stormy weather headed our way.  If it doesn't break up, that should get here by early morning.

There is thunder, too.  Not the sharp cracks of lightning strikes, but the kind that sort of rolls around in the clouds overhead.  When my kids were young they said that kind of thunder sounded like the angels were bowling up in the clouds.

If I had a garden I would be delighted with this rain.  As it is, it's a welcome sound.  The slight breeze coming in combined with the sound of rain makes for good sleeping - something I seem to do less and less these days.  I wonder if others experience the same thing - the older I get the less I am inclined to sleep.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Today Has Been a Good Day

Some days are better than others.  Some days can be a trial with simultaneous arthritis and cellulitis outbreaks going on.  Other days can be quite lovely, in spite of the physical limitations.  Today was one of those.

Right off the bat, two loads of laundry were washed, dried, folded and put away.  I had questioned whether I should dip into my savings to buy the appliances, but they are worth their weight in gold to me.

While clothes were washing I fried some bacon that needed to be used up.  Added toast and a couple of eggs and it was a breakfast fit for a king.

The worst of the muck has been washed from my kitchen floor and it shines as much as a cheap linoleum floor can shine.

I made up a batch of brown sugar today.  I don't buy brown sugar any more.  When my brown sugar canister gets low, I just mix in a tablespoon of molasses for each cup of white sugar and make up enough to fill the canister again.  It is way cheaper to make my own than buy it.

I mixed up a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies.  The smell of them baking is making me hungry.  There are enough for Oldest Son to take some to work to share with his co-workers for his birthday tomorrow, plus enough for him and his friend as well as me to enjoy.  You just can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies.

It will be a "Lazy Granny" supper tonight.  Homemade ham and bean soup that I canned a while back and maybe some cornbread to go with it.  I use half store-bought cornmeal and half ground up sweet corn that I dehydrated.  Makes for the best cornbread ever.

And then I will find a movie to watch while I do a little sewing.  Or maybe read for a while.  There is nothing exciting or dramatic about my life, but it suits me.  Especially when I have a really good day.