Sunday, November 30, 2014

Chippy - Elf on the Shelf - 2014 Edition

Yes, Chippy the Elf is back at my grandchildren's home.  I have as much fun as the kids, checking my son's Facebook posts to see where Chippy turns up each day.  This year there is an addition.  It seems that Chippy has acquired a girlfriend.  Go, Chippy!


It will be fun to see where they hide this year!

I know.  I'm as bad as the kids.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, my son and his family go to a tree farm to cut down their Christmas tree.  And they always post a picture of their adventure.


They make my heart glad.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Canning Marathon

Wednesday morning, the guy who grocery shops for me called.  Wanted to know if I really wanted a dozen bunches of celery.  I did.  And how big a turkey did I need.  I replied I wanted the biggest one he could find.  He laughed and said OK.  See you soon.

Celery has been on sale at that grocery store at other times for 98 cents a bunch.  And those times the bunches have been skinny - about half the size of a normal bunch of celery.  Not this time.  They were huge.  I already have all the dehydrated celery I want, so I went ahead and canned up this batch, even though there was more than I bargained for.  Wound up with 8 pints and 56 half pints of chopped celery.

The turkey I got weighed in at a little over 23 pounds.  A 23 pound turkey yields 12 pints of meat and 11 quarts of turkey broth.  I need to get at least another four turkeys that size - maybe six.  I use the canned turkey more than any other canned meat, and I was completely out of it.

I've still got 10 lbs of frozen peas and 10 lbs. of frozen green beans to can.  But I think that will wait until tomorrow.  I'm slowly and reluctantly learning what my limitations are and after the last of the turkey comes out of the pressure canner, I do believe a short nap might be just the thing.  Although if this winter continues as it has been so far (yesterday morning the temperature was at six degrees below zero), naps may give way to hibernation.  I think the bears are smarter than we are.  They sleep the whole winter long.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Consequences

I have never liked swearing.  I'm not a prude.  I just don't like it.  Probably comes from my Baptist upbringing and the fact that my Mother was extremely religious.  I'm sure that my children use four letter words from time to time.  But they have enough respect not to use them within earshot of their Mother.

Anyway, Youngest Son was telling me about his daughters.  One of them wasn't pleased with something her sister did.  And she let her know about it by dropping an F-bomb to express her displeasure.  What she didn't take into consideration was the fact that her Daddy was within hearing distance.  And he heard.

The girl has spent a considerable amount of time with a pencil and paper, writing "I will not swear at my sister."  500 times.  And when she has finished all 500 sentences, she can have her cell phone back.

Does my heart good to know that in some families, actions still have consequences.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Monday Ramble

Today is grocery ordering day.  Yesterday I went through the weekly store ad that came in the mail and made out my list.

Celery is on sale for 99 cents a bunch.  I ordered a dozen.  I have quite a bit of celery dehydrated.  It takes a long time to rehydrate so I use it in soups that simmer all day.  The plan is to cut the celery into about half inch pieces and can them in half pint jars.  I had done that a couple of years ago and liked the convenience of adding canned celery to casseroles, stew, etc.

The store brand frozen vegetables are on sale in the two pound bags.  I ordered 10 lbs. of peas and 10 lbs. of cut green beans.  I'll can those in pint jars and that will bring those two vegetables back up to the amounts I like to have on hand on my pantry shelves.

Now and then mistakes are made.  Two weeks ago I ordered both dry dog food and cat food.  They brought me a fairly large bag of dog food but no cat food.  Good thing I order before I am down to two weeks worth of food for the animals, so Kizzie the cat did not run out of food.  Kizzie running out of food is not a good thing.  She whines and fusses when her bowl is down to half full.  An empty dish would make life unbearable for both her and me!  Lily, however, now has enough dry food to probably last the rest of her natural life!  Guess that is a good thing.

I don't often indulge myself, but a buy 1 - get 1 free sale on ice cream was just too good to pass up.  I ordered two old fashioned vanilla and will make a batch of chocolate sauce and a batch of butterscotch topping.  Ice cream is one of my favorite things, even in the middle of winter.

There were rumors of snow in our forecast, but it looks like it bypassed us again.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  I look at the reports of those folks in New York, opening their doors only to find a wall of snow outside, and I find I have much to be thankful for.

I have given up looking for exciting things to blog about.  Exciting just doesn't happen in my world.  I got rid of the drama in my life years ago.  But I can continue to write about the everyday happenings here in my little corner of the world.  And as this is more or less a record of what is going on in my life, as well as a place to remember the "good old days," that's OK.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Heat Wave

Woke up this morning to a temperature of 49 degrees.  Moisture is on the way but it is in the form of rain.  You don't have to shovel rain.  Or scrape it off your car windshield.

Life is good.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grow Up

I'm tired.  I'm tired of hearing politicians pass out the blame but take no responsibility themselves.  I'm tired of listening to the Democrats bad mouth Republicans and Republicans responding in kind.  I'm tired of bickering.  I'm tired of the constant struggle to get one up on the opposing party.  I'm tired of the name calling.  I'm tired of the lies.

If my children, when they were young, had acted like our congress and leaders act, I'd have blistered their bottoms and sent them to bed without supper.

For God's sake.  Grow up.  Take a look at what is really wrong with this country.

And then fix it.

That's what we pay you for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dehydrated Potato Slices

So I had this 10 lb. sack of potatoes from my last grocery order.  Should I eat them or preserve them to add to my food storage.  I guess you know you are one of those crazy preppers when the decision is to preserve for later use.

Peeled 10 lbs. of potatoes.  Sliced them on my mandolin slicer.  Blanched the slices for 3 minutes.  Arranged the potatoes on my dehydrator trays, set the temperature for 135 degrees.  Wound up with about a gallon of dried potato slices.

My favorite way to use these potatoes is for scalloped potatoes.  Ahead of time I make up packets of sauce mix:

Basic Scalloped Potato Sauce Mix

1/3 C. + 2 Tbsp. powdered milk
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. dried onion
1/8 tsp. pepper

Each recipe goes into a small zip bag and lots of them are stored in a gallon freezer bag next to the bags of potato slices.

To make scalloped potatoes, dump 3 cups of dried potato slices into a crock pot.  Add one packet of sauce mix, 3 cups hot water and 3 Tbsp. butter.  Stir it a bit, set the crock pot on High and let it cook all afternoon,  stirring once in a while to make sure all of the potato slices are covered with the sauce to rehydrate evenly.  I might add a little bit more onion or some parsley flakes or maybe a little garlic or anything else that sounds good to me at the time.

About a half hour before serving I sometimes add a pint of my canned ham cubes or bacon bits.  I've also tossed in a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and let it melt, stirring it in.

The original recipe called for baking the scalloped potato dish in the oven.  I found that sometimes the potato slices wouldn't rehydrate fully.  So after experimenting using the crock pot, I decided I like that method of cooking scalloped potatoes much better than the oven method.  The potatoes are tender and you would never know that they were dehydrated and not fresh.

And now that I've made myself hungry writing this, I'm going to go get a batch of scalloped potatoes going for supper.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Once When We Were Free

“Once When We Were Free”
By Jon Rappoport

"We’re so much more sensible now. We don’t live our lives as much as we arrange them and organize them. B follows A. D follows C. We take our medicine and our shots because the doctor says so. We’re careful, because accidents happen. We don’t say what’s on our minds a lot of the time, because other people might pass that on, and who knows? We might get into trouble.

But once upon a time, when we were young, we were free. We didn’t take any shots and when we got sick we recovered. We were stronger than kids are now. We didn’t ask for much protection and we weren’t given much, and we survived.

There was no talk about the needs of the group. When we went to school, we weren’t told about ways we could help others. That was something we learned at home. We weren’t taught about The Planet. Instead, we learned to mind our own business, and it wasn’t considered a crime.

When we played games, adults weren’t hovering or coaching every move we made. We found places to play on our own, and we figured it all out. There were winners and losers. There were no plastic trophies. We played one game, then another. We lost, we won. We competed. Losing wasn’t a tragedy.

There were no childhood “conditions” like ADHD or Bipolar, and we certainly didn’t take any brain drugs. The idea of a kid going to a psychiatrist would have been absurd.

People were who they were. They had lives. They had personalities. They had eccentricities, and we lived with that.

There was far less whispering and gossip. There were fewer cliques. Kids didn’t display their possessions like signs of their identity. A kid who did was ignored, even shunned.

Kids never acted like little adults. They didn’t dress like adults. They didn’t want to be fake adults.

Our parents didn’t consult us about what we wanted. We weren’t part of the decision-making process. They didn’t need us for that.

We weren’t “extra-special.” We weren’t delicate.

No one asked us about our feelings. If they had, we would have been confused. Feelings? What’s that? We were alive. We knew it. We didn’t need anything else.

We could spot liars a mile away. We could spot phonies from across town. We knew who the really crazy adults were, and we stayed away from them.

We didn’t need gadgets and machines to be happy. We only needed a place to play. If you wanted a spot to be alone, you found one, and you read a book.

There was no compulsion to “share.”

School wasn’t some kind of social laboratory or baby-sitting service. We were there to learn, and if we worked hard, we did. Teachers knew how to teach. The textbooks were adequate. Whether the books were new or old didn’t matter.

Kids weren’t taught how to be little victims.

Sex was a private issue. You were taught about that at home or not at all. You certainly didn’t learn about it in school. That would have been ridiculous.

Some of us remember being young, and now, we still have that North Star. We still don’t take our shots and medicines. We still don’t take every word a doctor says as coming from God. We still know losing isn’t a crime or an occasion for tragic theater.

We still know how to be alone. We still think gossip and cliques are for morons. We still feel free. We still want to live, and we do.

We still resent intrusion on our freedom, and we speak up and draw the line. We still like winning and competing. We still like achieving on our own.

We can spot self-styled messiahs at a hundred yards.

As kids, we lived in our imaginations, and we haven’t forgotten how. It’s part of who and what we are.

We aren’t bored every twelve seconds. We can find things to do.

We don’t need reassurances every day. We don’t need people hovering over us. We don’t need to whine and complain to get attention. We don’t need endless amounts of “support.”

We don’t need politicians who lie to us constantly, who pretend we’re stupid. We don’t need ideology shoved own our throats. Our ideology is freedom. We know what it is and what it feels like, and we know no one gives it to us. It’s ours to begin with. We can throw it away, but then that’s on us.

If two candidates are running for office, and we don’t like either one, we don’t vote. We don’t need to think about that very hard. It’s obvious. Two idiots, two criminals? Forget it. Walk away.

We don’t fawn, we don’t get in other people’s way. We don’t think “children are the future.” Every generation is a new generation. It always has been. We don’t need to inject some special doctrine to pump up children. We remember what being a child is. That’s enough.

When we were kids, there was no exaggerated sense of loyalty. We were independent. Now, we see what can be accomplished in the name of obligation, group-cohesion, and loyalty: crimes; imperial wars; destruction of natural rights.

It didn’t take a village to raise a kid when we were young, and it doesn’t take one now. That’s all propaganda. It panders to people who are afraid to be what they are, who are afraid to stand up for themselves.

We don’t feel it’s our duty to cure every ill in the world. But it goes a lot further than that. We can see what that kind of indoctrination creates. It creates the perception of endless numbers of helpless victims. And once that’s firmly entrenched, then magically, the endless parade of victims appears, ready-made. When some needs have been met, others are born. The lowest form of hustlers sell those needs from here to the sky and beyond. They make no distinction between people who really can use help and those who are just on the make.

We didn’t grow up that way. We don’t fall for the con now.

When we were kids, the number of friends we had didn’t matter. We didn’t keep score. Nobody kept track of the count. That would have been recognized in a second as a form of insanity.

As kids, we didn’t admire people simply because other people admired them. That was an unknown standard.

We were alive. That was enough. We were free. That was enough.

It still is.

When we were young, we had incredible dreams. We imagined the dreams and imagined accomplishing them. Some of us still do. Some of us still work in that direction. We haven’t given up the ghost just because the world is mad. The world needs to learn what we know. We don’t need to learn what the world has been brainwashed into believing."

Borrowed from:
http://www.nomorefakenews.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Takes One to Know One

This grocery delivery thing is working pretty well for me.  This week carrots were on sale - 2 lb. bag for 99 cents.  I ordered 20 lbs.

Whenever the person who does the shopping notices something they think is out of the ordinary, they call to confirm the item.  That's a good idea.  People make mistakes.  So when the shopper saw my order for 20 lbs. of carrots, he called me.  I assured him that I did indeed want 20 lbs. of carrots.

"You are a canner," he said.  I asked him how he knew that.  He said, "It takes one to know one.  I bought 16 lbs of carrots for myself.  I'm canning them this evening."  I remarked that I thought we may be a dying breed.  He said that he was pleasantly surprised to see young people he knew showing an interest learning the old ways.  I think that is a good sign.

The last canner load of carrots are bubbling away on the stove.  10 lbs. of carrots gave me 22 pints of diced carrots.  I shredded the other 10 lbs.  Both dehydrators are filled.  There is enough left for another dehydrator full tomorrow.  I like the shredded dehydrated carrots for soups or carrot bread or muffins.   And the dehydrated foods take up much less space than do the canned.

It is nice to be able to check off one more item from my list.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Red Flannel Union Suit

Doesn't seem to matter how many times I click my heels together or wish upon a star, winter is headed our way anyway.


When I was a kid, about the time the snow started to fall, Mom made me wear a suit of underwear.


Complete with the trap door in the back.  It was red in color and hot and scratchy.  I hated wearing it, even as a very small child.

The signs are all pointing toward a harsh winter.  I'm thinking that a red flannel union suit isn't such a dumb idea after all.  :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Colors

Sleep eludes me this morning.  As I sit with my mug of coffee, I glance out the window.  The horizon is orange and pink and purple and colors in between that I don't think even have names.

I watch until the colors fade to a pink glow of the rising sun behind the clouds.  And for those few minutes I am reminded that God is in His Heaven.  And try as they might, they can not take that simple truth away from me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sometimes I Just Get Busy

This past week has been one of those times.

My grocery order last week included 9 lbs. of hamburger that I canned.  Takes one pound per pint jar.  I figure if I order 9 lbs. every other week for three months, I should have enough for a while.

I also got 12 lbs. of frozen sweet corn and 12 lbs. of frozen mixed vegetables.  I canned most of that in half pint jars, which is just right for one person.  It probably sounds a bit strange to can frozen vegetables, but it is cheaper for me to do that than it is to buy the veggies in cans.  And I would rather have them in jars on the shelf than in my freezer.  They last much longer in jars and should water ever become scarce, the liquid in each jar is enough to heat the veggies in.

I like to have those packets of rice side dishes on hand.  But when I figured out the price per packet, I found I can make my own at a fraction of the cost.  So using these recipes, I made up 25 packets of each flavor.

Chicken Rice Mix

3/4 cup  rice
1 tablespoon dry onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon dry parsley
1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon

Combine the rice and all of the other ingredients in a resealable plastic container. Zip-lock bags work well for this. Label and seal. Store on the pantry shelf. This is enough for 1 package of mix.

To Prepare:
2 tablespoons butter
1 package of Chicken Rice Mix
2-1/2 cups water
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the butter, Rice Mix and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place a lid on the pot. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible flame. Simmer, covered until done or for about 20.

Beef Rice Mix

3/4 cup rice
1 tablespoon dry onion
1 tablespoon dry parsley
1 tablespoon powdered beef bouillon

Combine the rice and all of the other ingredients in a resealable plastic container. Zip-lock bags work well. Label and seal. Store on the pantry shelf. This is enough for 1 package of mix.

To Prepare:
2 tablespoons butter
1 package of Beef Rice Mix
2-1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the butter, Rice Mix, soy sauce and water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place a lid on the pot. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible flame. Simmer, covered until done or for about 20 minutes.

Sometimes I'll make up a packet of rice mix to eat as a side dish and other times I'll add a jar of canned beef or turkey and a half pint of vegetables for a one-dish meal.  A couple of slices of cornbread on the side makes for a pretty good meal.

I suppose that if I were content to just fill my shelves and then sit back and admire all those lovely jars of food, I wouldn't spend so much time canning.  But I eat what I store.  It makes no sense to me to have buckets full of food that I don't eat on a regular basis.  So when I see that I'm running low on a particular food, I get busy and can or dehydrate or package some more.  The goal is to have one years worth of food put back.  I'm getting close to attaining that goal.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Chipotle Burrito

This was posted on Facebook this morning.


The kids look great.  All excited for an evening of Tricks or Treats.  But what made me laugh out loud was the sight of my son dressed up as a Chipotle burrito.  It is sort of an inside joke.  He can be found at Chipotle's quite often during his lunch time.

If my kids inherited only one characteristic, I'm glad it was a sense of humor.