Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Interesting Week

Today started out at -2 degrees F.  Tomorrow will be warmer with 4 - 8 inches of snow, depending on which weather report you listen to.  Thursday is to be sunny, Friday cloudy and then it gets interesting.  Rain and snow is predicted for Saturday with more snow on Sunday. 

If things go true to form, the grocery stores will be jam-packed with panicked shoppers stocking up on bread, milk and whatever else they think they need to survive the weekend.  I just don't understand why folks would rather fight the crowds in stores than get ready ahead of time.

For example - I will run out of milk today.  I usually have two gallons delivered every other week.  It is my own fault I ordered only one gallon this time.  My bad.  But I have lots of instant powdered milk on hand.  So this evening I will make up three quarts of milk and put it in the fridge to chill.  I am not fond of drinking powdered milk, but chilled with a few drops of vanilla added to each quart, it is palatable.  And I will have milk to cook with or bake with.

By tomorrow evening I will be out of bread.  So tomorrow morning I will bake a couple of loaves, some hamburger buns and a pan of cinnamon rolls.  (And yes, Duane, you can fill up a plate of rolls to take home with you!) I have all the ingredients stocked.  I will cheat and use my bread machine, but should the ice storm headed our way knock out the electricity, I have the knowledge to bake bread the old fashioned way, stirring and kneading by hand.  I wonder how many of the younger generation have bothered to learn this skill.  Or of my generation, for that matter.

Suppose for one storm related reason or another, I can not use my kitchen stove or oven.  I have a propane camp stove that will work to heat all sorts of food.  And most importantly, heat water for coffee!!  My shelves are filled with jars of home canned meats, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and soups.  And some pickles and relishes and jam for variety.  Even if I can't cook, the food is fully cooked from the canning process and can be eaten straight from the jar, if necessary.

This is NOT a post to say that I am better than you because I prep and you don't.  Not at all.  It is merely a reminder that life can be easier and more safe if a person plans ahead.  I learned from my parents who learned from their parents.  My grandparents had no weather forecasts other than the signs of nature.  They couldn't just run to the corner store because the corner store was miles away and required first hitching a team of horses to a wagon and later, travelling in a Model T type of car over roads that were bumpy and rutted in the best of weather and impassable in the worst.  So they stored supplies.  They canned vegetables from their garden.  They butchered their meat and salted it down or cured it or canned it.  And they saw to it that their family of nine children was fed no matter the weather.

Grandma and Grandpa weren't preppers, especially those with all the gear and bug-out bags and the like.  They were ordinary people who knew how to survive.  We could do well to learn from them.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sidetracked

I tend to get sidetracked easily.  I start out to do one thing and often find myself off in another direction.  Sigh.

Last week my kitchen lights went off and stayed off.  The handyman finally fixed them Tuesday.  So I have been busy catching up on the kitchen stuff that is difficult when the lights are out.

Then I started out going through my fabric stash looking to see if I had enough of one color for the back of a quilt.  I found myself surrounded by fabric scraps and an idea for a nifty scrap quilt.  Now that I have light above my kitchen table, I can start cutting the pieces.

My grocery order was delivered today.  I postponed ordering vegetables for the soup I plan to can, but will get them in two weeks.  I hope to fill in some of the open spaces on the shelves.  I did order 4 lbs. of butter and will order 4 more next time to can.

I have been crocheting like a mad woman evenings.  I am determined to finish the last two afghans by spring.  I am getting tired of yarn and want to move on to playing with fabric.  When the afghans are finished, the sewing machine will get a good cleaning and oiling and then off to the races on quilts.   In between canning and dehydrating, that is.  The way things are going in the Swamp, I have a hunch we all had better be prepared for anything.

Can you believe that 'Green New Deal?'  Let's see.  They want to eliminate gas, oil, coal - all fossil fuels.  We all will need electric cars.  Planes will go the way of the dinosaur, which begs the question... How does one get to places across the oceans.  Even ships need fuel.  And I won't even get into the discussion about farting cows.  What is really scary is that most of the Dems who are in the running for President are buying into it. 

The lunatics are running the asylum.  I'm just too old to go protest anything.  Phone calls, emails, letters and petitions are a waste of time.  Unless it involves power or more money in their bank accounts, they just don't care.  The only thing I can do is try to vote them out of office.  And gripe.  Here.  To you all.  Which is 'preaching to the choir!'

And keep prepping. 

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Yesterday...

Duane went to physical therapy.  He has gone three times a week since he came home from the hospital after his stroke in December.  Each time, the therapist pokes his hand with something sharp to see if any of the feeling in it has returned.

Yesterday, for the first time, he said he could detect a little bit of feeling in his hand.

When you are recovering from a stroke, that is huge.

He still has a long way to go, but we are so very encouraged by this.

To all of you who have been sending good thoughts our way and to those who have been holding my son in prayer, a very heartfelt thank you.  There is power in prayer and God does hear and answer.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Murphy Lives at my House

First we had the window drama that is yet to be resolved.  There haven't been any days warm enough for the crew to finish the job.  It doesn't look real promising as the wind chill factor this morning was -25.  And more snow is on the way for Sunday and again on Tuesday. 

Then there have been problems with the furnace in the building.  The landlord has had repairmen out working on the problem.  This building is old - built in the late 1800's.  He told me the duct-work is a nightmare of a maze, my apartment being at the very end of this mess.  There is only so much they can do without shutting down the furnace and at the temps we have had lately, that is not a good option.  Duane's apartment next door to mine stays in the mid-70's range while mine is at 63 degrees when I wake up in the morning.  The space heater helps and I have lots of heavy sweaters and sweatshirts, so I am not exactly freezing to death, but Murphy strikes again.

My kitchen is located between my living room and bedroom.  There is one window facing a brick wall next door, so not a whole lot of light from outside comes in.  There are two florescent lights in the kitchen that provide more than adequate lighting.  Yesterday when I flipped the switch, both lights remained dark.  Murphy, you devil, you!

My landlord sent his handyman here to change the bulbs in both lights.  Nothing.  Turns out there is another part to the lights that needs replacing.  They will fix that sometime today.

When the handyman was finished, he went down to his truck to get some rags to wipe up the mess of dirt and melted snow he had dragged in.  He had been shoveling snow before coming here.  He came back a short time later, asking to use some of my paper towels, as his damp rags were now frozen solid.  All I could do was laugh.  Welcome to Minnesota in February.  And Murphy, you are an evil genius.

Here is my point with all of this foolishness.  None of it is within my control.  I have two choices.  I can get all mad and upset and raise my blood pressure to dizzying levels.  Or I can see the humor of it all and relax.  The windows will, at some point, get installed.  The furnace will get fixed.  So will my kitchen lights.  So I might as well get on with whatever I decide to do today and enjoy what I can. 

I find that my go-to meal of home canned food when either time is limited or something like a dark kitchen happens, is either vegetable beef or chicken vegetable soup canned in quart jars..  I have it as soup for lunch and then thicken it for beef stew or chicken ala king over biscuits for supper.  I have one whole chicken in the freezer.  So my grocery  order will include two more chickens, a couple of beef roasts and vegetables to make more of each, as I am getting low on both.

If nothing else, this last couple of weeks have been a lesson on how to cope when Murphy shows up and makes himself comfortable.  This is a far cry from the problems we would have should the grid go down, but it gets me to thinking about what I really need to do, just in case.

I still believe that a working sense of humor goes a long way to make life bearable.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Some Days are a Delight

So this morning my phone rang.  It was Oldest Son.  He has a key to my apartment.  He uses it every couple of days to check up on Mom.  He thinks I don't know he checks up on Mom, but I know.  And I feel more secure because of it.

Anyway, when Duane called, he said he had used his key earlier.  I was back in the bathroom, using the nebulizer which is noisy, so I didn't see or hear him.  He told me to check my refrigerator.  Seems he had been grocery shopping.  The store where he shops has an ongoing deal in the meat department.  The package a variety of meats in separate packages, selling them for $5 each - buy 4 and get 1 free.  He left half a dozen sausages in my fridge, bought using the store's sale.  I cooked three for breakfast and still have enough for another meal.  It was a nice surprise and the sausages are really good.

When I checked the weather report this morning, I found more snow headed our way.  Some time back David asked me to pray for snow.  His job in the winter involves managing snow removal crews and earlier, we had very little snow.  That has changed.  We have had snow nearly every other day lately.  There is more snow forecast, along with wind and plummeting temps.  So I emailed David, "Can I stop praying for snow now?"

Shortly after sending the email, my phone rang.  The first thing I heard was, "Don't you dare stop praying for snow!  This week alone has paid for Jacob's hockey."

I wouldn't want David's job.  When there is snow, he gets very little sleep.  Customers call him all hours of the day and night.  They tell him there is snow on their sidewalks.  He says that's because it is snowing.  His crews go in and remove the snow when the snow stops.  And when the snow stops, customers call 5 minutes later, complaining that nobody is at their place of business to plow yet.  David is convinced that common sense has left the building.

Anyway, it seems I need to continue to pray for snow for the sake of my son and his family.  :)

On another topic, Fiona over at 'Confessions of a Crazed Cattlewoman' has a post today dealing with the insanity of late term abortion.  She talks about it much better than I could and I would wish that you all would read what she has to say.

Me...I'm waiting for the next round of snow to begin.  In the meantime, I think my green fuzzy blanket may get a workout, as will my Kindle.  It is that kind of day.  Or maybe another surprise will come calling.  Who knows!  Even the life of a chubby grandma can occasionally be an adventure.  :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

What is Happiness

Depends on your point of view.

For some it is a fancy sports car or a shiny new truck.
For others it is a big house with the interior fashionably decorated.
Some are happy with cruises or vacations to exotic places.
Still others are completely happy with counting their money as it accumulates in the bank.

Me...I have sort of a different take on happiness.

This morning happiness was watching big flakes of snow fall, turning the dirty city streets into a white wonderland.

This afternoon happiness was a phone call from granddaughter Maddie Mae, telling me about her 4.0 grade average and that she ranked 5th in academics out of her class of over 400.  I asked her what she wanted to study when she goes to college in a few years, and she said something in the field of psychology.  I told her then maybe she could find out what made her Grandma tick.  She laughed and said, "Grandma, you are so funny."

This evening happiness was a nice mug of hot chocolate.

Happiness is when I shared a meal of stew and biscuits with my son.

Happiness is looking at my shelves full of home canned food, knowing my family will be fed should the time come when we need it.

Most of all, happiness is the realization that I am content with what I have.  I woke up this morning and that is a bonus.  I have a roof over my head.  Many don't.  I have food to eat and clean water to drink.  So many don't know where their next meal is coming from.  I have family who love me.  That is a gift from God.

I feel sorry for those who need money or power or luxury in order to be happy.  They really don't know what they are missing.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Recommended Reading

I just have nothing today.

Spent the morning with the cleaning lady and a nurse.  Spent the afternoon going over what I need to get canned, finding the recipes and making out grocery lists for the next few grocery orders.  More bacon and hamburger and chili are at the top of the list, followed by vegetable soup, pork and beans  and my favorite coleslaw/relish recipe. 

This evening finds me working on Maddie's afghan.  At the rate I am going, she will be married with half a dozen kids before it is finished.  And I haven't even started on the last one for Jacob.  Good thing he is only 11.  Might get it done before he graduates.  :)

I did manage to read a couple of my favorite blogs today.  Rev. Paul over at "Way Up North" has a good article you will find interesting.  He has a way of getting to the heart of the matter.

I will be back when I have something worthwhile to say.