Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minneapolis Declared Safe

There are very few news headlines that cause me to nearly spew a mouthful of coffee all over my keyboard.  But this one came close:  "Minneapolis Police Declare Downtown 'Safe'"

So about 8:30 this evening I tuned in the police scanner for Minneapolis.  Within about 45 minutes I heard the following calls:

Gun shots reported.
Individual on the street threatening people with a baseball bat.
Individuals harassing passengers on a city bus.
Several people fighting in the street.
Another fight in a gas station parking lot.
Victim robbed on the street.
Two people causing disturbance on train.
Large group of juveniles harassing and intimidating people.
An attempted robbery with officer chasing suspect on foot.

Yep.  I  sure feel safer now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Ramble

It is fairly quiet here in my little corner of the world.  We had some rain over the weekend and it has rained all day today.  Our local weatherman is predicting storms for the end of the week, but unless I see nasty clouds headed my way, I don't get too excited.  The weathermen here get all wild about winter storms, talking like the storm of the century is coming, and usually there isn't enough snowfall to notice.

The food preservation has slowed down.  We are kind of waiting for the Farmers Markets produce, which may be later this year due to the cool spring.  Generally that produce is well worth the wait.  In the meantime there are a couple of meats that I want to get into jars and on the shelves.  I have canned meatballs successfully and am all out, so that's on the list.  And if ham ever goes on sale I would like to can some more of that as well.  Until then I am just ordering sale items that I regularly use, buying enough to put a couple of cans in the cupboard and stash the rest.  Mandarin oranges were on sale, so I ordered 10 larger cans with my grocery order to be delivered tomorrow.  I think a batch of orange muffins is now on the "to do" list.

I've been looking at alternative cooking methods.  My kitchen stove is gas and even when there is no power, I can still light the burners.  But if for any reason the gas were shut off, I need a back-up.  Because of my location, I'm not crazy about grills or camp stoves out on the deck of my building.  I'm thinking they would attract unwanted attention.  And storing propane or camp stove gas in my apartment probably wouldn't be the smartest thing I have ever done.  But I saw several videos and articles about the little one-burner alcohol stoves and wondered if anyone has ever used one.  I know that the Heet used in vehicles and other kinds of alcohol can be used in these burners, and that might not be quite as bad to store as other fuels.

So until I am back to canning, I am working on projects that have sat far too long.  I have enough of these made for a quilt.

This is all hand sewing, but it is relaxing for me.  I'm in the process of sewing all the hexagon flowers together using a sage green fabric for the connecting hexagons.  I may finish this quilt this year and I may not.  But it keeps me busy and I enjoy it.  I really need a trip to the fabric store.  If you are a quilter, you know that we often have several quilts in various stages of completion and that we can never have too much fabric!

I'm feeling a bit sorry for Oldest Son who worked in the rain all day.  For supper I'm heating up the delicious chicken and rice soup he made a couple of days ago, because I don't want it to go to waste, and am having grilled cheese sandwiches with it.  But thinking that just wasn't enough, I made a Peach Crisp that just came out of the oven.  I hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Monday, May 25, 2015

They Said It...

better than I possibly could.  So I refer you to Frank and Fern.

We desperately need to remember.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Results of Experiment

The canned celery that I dehydrated worked pretty well.  I still don't care much for it when it is rehydrated, although it rehydrates better than the celery I have dried when raw.  Five pints of canned celery dehydrated down to a half pint in volume.  I may just run that through my little grinder for celery powder and use it up that way, for flavor.

The pineapple tidbits rehydrated almost perfectly to their original state and will work in any recipe calling for that size pineapple pieces.  Three 20-oz. cans dried down to one pint.  I will dry more of this.

The pineapple chunks were in  the dehydrator over 24 hours and still weren't completely dry.  I decided that as long as both my son and I like dried pineapple snacks, I would just jar up the pieces, which have sort of a leathery feel to them and use them that way.  The taste is wonderful, but I won't try to dehydrate any more for long term storage.  Six cans of pineapple chunks fit into two pint jars when dried.

Sometimes an idea works and sometimes not.  I guess a person just doesn't know unless you try.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dehydrating Pineapple and Celery

A while back 20 ounce cans of pineapple were on sale.  I bought eight cans of tidbits and eight cans of chunks.  I had used a few cans of the tidbits, but that still left me with a number of cans taking up valuable real estate on my shelves.  So last evening I asked the tall person in the household (My, but it's nice to have a tall person in residence, especially when you have to climb to reach the top shelf!) to leave two cans of each in the cupboard and set the rest on the table.  He did.

This morning I dumped the pineapple into colanders and let them drain, saving the juice.  When they stopped dripping, I spread the pieces onto my dehydrator trays, keeping the sizes separate.  I had read somewhere that if fruit is dried at too high a temperature, the outside tends to dry while the inside stays moist, so I lowered the temp from the normal 135 degrees to 115 degrees.  It will take longer to dry, but I would rather that than have pineapple that spoils because it isn't completely dry.  The bonus was two and a half quarts of lovely pineapple juice to drink.

Last year Youngest Son gave me lots of celery from his garden.  I wasn't completely happy with the celery I had previously dehydrated.  It dried just fine, but was not the best when rehydrated.  I knew it wouldn't be like fresh celery, but it just didn't want to completely rehydrate unless used in soup that simmered all day.  So I cut up my gifted celery and canned it.  I wanted to be able to use the celery in casseroles and other dishes where the dehydrated wouldn't work well, and canning solved that problem.

Except that now I have lots and lots of half pint jars of canned celery - more than I will use in the next several years - taking up space.  And I am really low on empty half pint jars that I use to can bacon bits and I don't want to buy any more.  So I decided to experiment a little.  I had canned some of the celery in five pint jars that I had used when I ran out of the smaller ones while canning.  So I opened them, drained the celery and spread the pieces onto my dehydrator trays.  They went into the second dehydrator at the same temp as the pineapple.

This is an experiment on both fronts.  I have read about and seen videos on dehydrating pineapple, all with good results, but I had never before tried it myself.  Most people cut celery into quarter to half inch pieces, blanch it and dry it.  I've never heard of anyone drying canned celery.  I'm thinking it all may be dry tomorrow sometime.  I hope the experiments are successful, for dehydrated foods take up so much less space than the canned.  I'll let you know what happens.

Yesterday Afternoon...

my phone rang.  It was Youngest Son.  He often calls me while he is sitting and waiting.  He waits for his daughters to finish dance lessons.  He waits for clients to show up for meetings.  Yesterday he was waiting in traffic.

He was fussing because he wanted to be sure to get home on the other side of the city in time for his oldest daughter's induction into the National Honor Society.  I told him to be sure to take a picture.

He made it in time.  Here is the picture of proud Daddy and daughter.

Congratulations, Boston.  Our family is so proud of you.

Especially your Grandma.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You Have Got to Be Kidding

Political correctness has crossed the line from ridiculous to "You have got to be kidding."

I'm pretty sure by now most of you have read about the Boy Scouts ban on squirt gun battles.  I really don't know why I was surprised.  This anti gun thing has totally run amok, from kids being sent home from school for wearing a t-shirt depicting any sort of weapon, to elementary age children being reprimanded for pointing a finger at a classmate and saying "pow, pow, pow," to the now famous nibbling of a Pop Tart into what was perceived as a "gun shape."  And now Boy Scouts are not allowed to have squirt gun fights.

And yes, I am going to go down that "When I was a kid" road.

Dad bought a series of squirt guns for my sister and me.  As the youngest of nine children, I'm pretty sure he remembered the fun of water connecting with a sister.  We were kept busy for hours, chasing one another, each trying to stay dry while soaking the other.  Or hiding around a corner or behind a tree, waiting for the opportunity of a sneak attack.  Or getting off a really good shot at a neighbor kid.  Who then proceeded to soak us.  And when the cheap plastic squirt guns would wear out or break, he would bring home more.  The only ban on squirt guns came from Mother who didn't allow us to use them in the house.  Oddly enough, neither of us grew up with homicidal tendencies.  Imagine that.

My kids played with squirt guns.  Pretty much the same way as my sister and me.  Kept them occupied and out of my hair for hours.  And guess what.  There isn't a mass murderer in the bunch.

I sometimes think that there is a plan to sissify our boys.  My boys learned to shoot at a young age.  For that matter, so did my girls.  They all took gun safety courses.  Both my boys hunt and both have provided their families with venison.  In my Dad's time, learning to hunt was a necessary skill.  It kept food on the table.  There were times when the only meat my family had was the result of hunting.  But now it seems that our children are supposed to run and hide when firearms are mentioned, seen pictured on a shirt or even pretended in little boy play.  There may very well come a time when shooting skills are the only means of obtaining meat.  These kids are going to grow up clueless.

Little boys are no longer allowed to be little boys.  Little boys are loud and obnoxious and like to do battle.  It is their training ground for their responsibilities as adults to take care of and defend the family.  But now if a boy acts like a boy, he is usually drugged.  He learns that any sort of weapon is bad.  He is taught to fear rather than respect firearms.

So let's say that the little boy grows up.  He has a wife, a couple of children.  And some mean and crazy person breaks into his home.  Won't happen?  Read the papers.  Watch the news.  Happens somewhere every single day.  So what's he going to do.  He has no weapon for defense.  It has been drummed into him that guns are bad.  Mean and crazy isn't about to wait while he calls 911, or wait until the police arrive.  Mean and crazy is going to, at best, hurt him and his family.  Mean and crazy doesn't care if his victims are women and children.  At worst, this husband and father won't live to regret his choices concerning the wisdom of owning a gun.

So lets just keep on banning anything that smacks of defense.  Lets keep on making our younger generation vulnerable to the mean and crazies of this world.  Lets just keep on telling them that they should be tolerant and that gun free zones really work and nobody should have guns and nothing bad will ever happen to them.  Because we all know that if guns are banned, surely the criminals  won't have them either.  Worked for England, didn't it?

And for God's sake, lets not allow little boys to be what they are - little boys.  Who grow up to be men.  Who believe in the responsibility of caring for home and family and country.  Who willingly defend them against all evil.

That just would never do, would it?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wake Up Call

A couple of days ago I read this post on Frank and Fern's blog.

Then this morning Mary posted this.

Sometimes it takes being hit with a 2x4 on top of the head to get someone's attention.  Apparently I am one of those people.

My smug self has been working hard to build up my food storage.  I have been canning all the meat I could lay my hands on and dehydrating vegetables to fill in the gaps on my dried foods shelf.  And in the process, forgetting about other things that are really important.

I have never given much thought to a bug out bag.  My reasoning was that I'm not going anywhere.  Even if I could physically walk a distance from my home, which is doubtful at this stage of my life and state of my health, there is little chance I could do it carrying a bag full of supplies.

After reading those two posts this morning, I remembered the fire that occurred in my building.  I had found myself sitting on a bench across the street, watching the firemen working to put out the fire that gutted one of the ground floor apartments.  The biggest thing I remembered was the awful feeling I had when I realized that all I had with me were the clothes on my back and my keys in my hand.  I didn't even have on a proper pair of shoes, for I had slid my feet into a raggedy old pair of tennis shoes I used for excursions with the trash out to the dumpster.  That's about all they were good for.

Afterwards I had all sorts of good intentions.  I would put the important stuff in a bag and keep it where I could just grab it and go if anything like the fire ever happened again.  That was  Almost.  Two.  Years.  Ago.  And I have yet to do it.  Shame on me.

So I started on this project this morning.  Dug around in my closet and found a small duffel bag.  I will replace this with a backpack as soon as possible, for a backpack is easier for me to carry.  I also decided that, even though I rarely carry a purse, I have one with a shoulder strap.  I will use that for some things and keep it handy to grab as well, on my way out the door.  And I made a list.  With my memory that is fading, a list is necessary.

Everybody has different needs, so each person has their own list of what needs to be included.  My purse needs to include a months supply of medication plus a bottle of aspirin to help with arthritis symptoms.  Paperwork, including my Social Security card and information, my photo ID and a list of phone numbers for my children.  I don't have a cell phone.  Perhaps I need to rethink the need for one.  And cash.  Sitting on that bench two years ago and realizing that I didn't have two nickles to rub together was horrifying.  Also a book of blank checks and my banking information.  There are other items, but those are basic.

The bag needs to include at least one change of clothes, from the knickers on out.  And a decent pair of shoes.  For health reasons I need to wear compression socks all the time, so a pair of those need to be added.  A hooded sweatshirt for cool weather and lightweight shirts for warm days.  Wintertime necessitates the addition of a knit hat, scarf and mittens.  I remember how hungry I was after several hours of waiting to get back into my apartment after the fire was put out.  So emergency rations of things like hard candies should my blood sugar levels drop, a couple of bags of dried fruit and things like granola-type bars and snacky things that will keep for a time are needed.  Also the travel size shampoo, soap and lotion, along with a small towel and washcloth.  And some bottled water.  And something small that easily fits in a purse or backpack for my personal protection, which is on my "need to buy now" list.

I'm not packing for an extended stay in the woods.  Heading for the hills is not practical for me, so packing like I might for a couple of nights at a motel is more what I need.  I'm sure there are other additions to my list, but for now I am going with the basics, which is more than I had done.

My thanks to Frank, Fern and Mary for getting my attention.  Being prepared isn't just filling the shelves with food.  There is so much more to preparing than that, and I aim to make those corrections now.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


While browsing through the WND website as I do most days, I ran across this headline:


The article can be accessed here.  It says in part:
"(Campus Reform) Arizona State University students are petitioning the university to change the name of its pedestrian walkways as its current name—Walk-Only Zones—might be a “microaggression” and “offensive” to people who cannot walk."

I've been seeing this word "microaggression" fairly often lately.  Unsure of it's exact meaning, I looked it up.  Wikipedia says, "Microaggression is a form of unintended discrimination. It is depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination. Psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M. Pierce coined the word microaggression in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals he said he had regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans. In 1973, MIT economist Mary Rowe extended the term to include similar aggressions directed at women; eventually, the term came to encompass the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group, such as poor people, disabled people and sexual minorities."

It seems that I can't open my mouth to say anything these days without offending someone.  Do I care?  Not particularly.

I live with fun being made at my expense all the time.  How many Senior Citizen jokes have you heard lately?  How about Fat jokes?  I hear them or read them often.  And do I get my panties in a wad over them?  Not likely.  Some I actually find funny.  Like when I told one of my daughters that my goal in life was to live long enough to be a problem to my children.  Her reply was that my work here was done.  Now, that's funny!

As far as I can tell, there is not one single word in our Constitution about the right not to be offended.  We will be offended by something or someone, often on a daily basis.  I am offended when I hear the language used by the drunks in the street below my window.  But the same freedom of speech that allows me to write this blog gives them the right to talk as they wish.

There is a time and place for everything.  If, for example, I am in a family restaurant with small children and someone is loudly holding forth using the same profanity as the drunks outside the bar, I might have a chat with the manager of that restaurant, requesting that he/she speak to the offending party, asking that because of the children present, they tone it down just a bit.  If this doesn't happen, I will simply take my family and leave, making it crystal clear that not only will I cease to do business with this establishment, I will tell everyone I know about the circumstances.

Many years ago I was in the market for a pickup truck.  I  went to a local dealership to see what they had to offer.  The salesman asked me if I thought I could handle driving a pickup.  Did I get mad? Nope.  Did I scream at him for offending my female feelings.  Nope.  I merely told him that his commission would not come from me that day.  I added that he might do well to refrain from making assumptions, considering at that time my job was driving an 18-wheeler pulling a flatbed trailer, carrying steel and lumber to points in the lower 48 states and Canada.  And I wished him a good day on my way out the door.

I had two choices.  I could let his remarks offend me and hurt my feelings or I could let them roll off me like water off a duck and get on with my life.  The first would keep me angry and annoyed and eventually give me ulcers.  The second would make me a happier person.  The look on the salesman's face when he realized his mistake was absolutely priceless and still causes me to smile when I think about it.

When it comes to being offended over a "Walk Only" sign, I know whereof I speak.  My Mother was wheelchair bound for many years.  There was a time when I would take her shopping or to visit a friend or just for a drive in the country, if that's what she wanted to do.  Never - not even once - did I hear her complain that she was offended because others could walk and she couldn't.  Matter of fact, I can't ever remember her complaining at all, even though the pain in her joints must have been horrific due to the rheumatoid arthritis that ravaged her body.  But offended?  Never.

We can't control what others say or do.  We can only control how we let it affect us.

Finding things to be offended about is a choice.  So is being happy.  I choose to be as happy as possible.

Rain, Rain...

The weather radar screen shows solid rain for today, slowly moving north from Iowa.  No storms, but just a steady drip, drip, drip.  It is expected to last all day.  Most are glad to see it.  My sons are not.

Oldest son works mostly outside, driving a forklift, loading and unloading trucks.  Last evening he came home and told me that until further notice he would be working from 6 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and 7 AM to 3:30 PM on Saturday, starting today.  He was really happy about the chance to get in some serious overtime.  The rain...not so much.  But last week he bought some rain gear, so he is prepared.

Youngest son spent yesterday loading a large rental truck with boxes, bins and tubs full of his family's belongings.  Today the movers come to get the heavy furniture.  And tonight David's family will sleep in their new home.  Luckily the new house is only a few miles from their old house, so it isn't like they have to travel far.  But unloading the trucks in the rain will not be a joy.  The kids are excited.  I think by now Mom and Dad are too tired out and just want to get the moving part over with.

Me...even though I have been told several times before that because I am not made of sugar, I won't melt in the rain, I don't think I will test the theory.  It is a good day to sew or crochet or work on Granddaughter's photo album.  Last night I took a 12 lb. turkey breast out of the freezer to thaw and will roast it later for supper.  The best part is turkey sandwiches made with the leftovers.  And I think a nap is probably in my future as well.

Unless you are in a drought area, I hope your day is dry and sunny.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Totals

So after Son made another couple of grocery runs, here is what I have:

A total of 45 lbs. of chicken breast that yielded 54 pints.  I had one jar break in the canner and another that didn't seal, using all metal lids.  The one that didn't seal will be supper tonight, in gravy over biscuits.

12 lbs. of bacon ends and pieces, cut into pieces no larger than 1 inch, yielded 19 half pints of bacon bits.  The yield is less than other meats due to shrinkage when I fry it up before canning.  There might have been a little more, but it's bacon and the temptation to sample as I worked was just too great.

They jury is still out on the 28 lbs. of carrots.  They are all diced and waiting to be blanched before being dehydrated.  All I know for sure is that I will have 28 lbs. of carrots that, when dry, will likely fit into a one gallon freezer bag.

And now I'm going to take a nap.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Nineteen Years...

have passed since I last saw my Mother.

I still miss her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This One Is For You, Boston

Boston is nearly 13 years old.  Boston isn't usually wearing makeup, but this picture was taken while she was in stage makeup for one of her dance competitions last month.  It is the latest picture I have of her.

Boston had a goal.  She wanted to make the National Honor Society.  So she worked to make it happen.  Yesterday it did.

The letter was waiting for her when she got home from school.  She called her Dad.  He told me she was so excited that he couldn't understand a word she said.  He had to wait for her to calm down and speak a little more slowly, without the squeals of delight.  Girls who are almost teenagers squeal with delight.  A lot.  I think it is in their DNA.

I called her last evening.  I wanted to congratulate her and tell her how proud her Grandma is of her and her accomplishment.

Because I am.

It Will Be Interesting...

to see just how much I can accomplish in a weekend.  It is probably a good thing that much of it can be done while sitting at my kitchen table.  :)

Last evening Son came home with 15 lbs. of frozen chicken breast.  The price hasn't gone up as yet, so he is going back to the store today for more.  Every day we hear of the bird flu spreading to another farm.  I have lost track of how many millions of chickens and turkeys have been destroyed.  One of the largest chicken/turkey processing plants in our state just laid off 233 workers because of it.  It is a sad state of affairs, especially for those who were working and now are not.  Common sense tells me that before too long the prices in the stores will reflect the damages.  The local news reports have even suggested that folks would do well to think about serving something other than the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner this year.  So I am buying as much chicken as I can now while it is still affordable.  When canned and stored under the right conditions,  it will keep for years.

Our local store got rid of that awful bacon I canned and then had to toss, and replaced it with the good stuff.  Another 3 lb. package came home with Son as well.  Both of us really like the bacon bits I can and even though he won't be living with me forever, he will still benefit.  All of my kids know they can shop in Mom's pantry whenever they want, and they can leave their cash and credit cards at home.  That's what makes Moms happy - feeding their kids, even when they are all grown up.

Fresh carrots are also on sale this week for 50 cents a pound, so Son grabbed 10 lbs.  Last evening I peeled them and cut them into pieces that will fit in my Vidalia Chop Wizard.  I love that little gadget.  I already wore one out and replaced it.  Lucky for me our local Target store carries them.  Tomorrow I will dice, blanch and get the carrots to drying in the dehydrators.  I really like having the dehydrated vegetables on hand.  They take up so much less space than the canned.  I prefer the canned or frozen for meals, but for soups that I simmer all day on the stove or in the crock pot, the dried can't be beat.  And kept away from light and moisture, they will keep indefinitely.  Son is getting more carrots, too, as long as they are so cheap.

I finally feel like I am getting caught up from this past winter.  Before I started with the grocery delivery service, I pretty much just ate from my food storage.  And I ate well.  There are those who can't figure out why I spend so much of my time on food preservation and storage.  I am blessed to have children close by who have been happy to bring me the food I needed at other times when I couldn't get out myself.  And I have no doubt that any of my four would do whatever I asked of them.  But it is very important to me to be able to take care of myself, even with the physical limitations that seem to show up fairly regularly as I age.  And should everything come crashing down around our ears, the knowledge that my family will not go hungry is a huge comfort.  I pray we never have to test the theory, but if we do, I would rather be ready than wonder where the next meal was going to come from.  Been there.  Done that.  Don't ever want to do it again.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Today I'm Canning Pork

The other day I sat at my kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee and browsing through my local grocery store sale ad for this week.  I noticed they had boneless country style pork ribs on sale for $1.99 a pound.  I don't know how it is in other parts of the country, but you can't hardly ever find any kind of meat for that price here any more.  I told Oldest Son about the sale and he said he would stop on his way home from work yesterday and get some.

So late yesterday afternoon Son came in the door with just a bit under 28 lbs. of pork.  He said he cleaned out their display.  I know from past experience that when the store runs a sale on this kind of meat, it isn't the neat, evenly cut pieces that one usually gets.  Some of the pieces are large and thick while others are smaller.  It isn't as free of fat as pork loin, but the fatty bits are small and easily trimmed.  There is very little waste.

After supper I browned the pieces of pork in my cast iron frying pan.  I  could have skipped this part, but I think it helps keep the meat moist and adds to the flavor.  It was too late in the evening to start canning, so the meat went into the fridge overnight.

This morning I put the meat pieces into 9x13 cake pans and into the oven for 15 minutes just to warm them before packing into the jars.  I wound up with 18 quarts of pork.  I will use them like I might a pork roast.  One quart jar will yield one nice pork roast meal for one or two people with leftovers for sandwiches or soup.  I think that's well worth the time and money.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies.....

fresh from the oven.  The good kind made with butter instead of shortening.
Tall glass of ice cold milk.

Yep.  Getting out of bed this morning was absolutely worth the effort.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Quiet Sunday

Beautiful day with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.

Working on Granddaughter's photo album for her graduation.  Sometimes the mojo is working - sometimes not.  Today everything seems to be coming together without a lot of aggravation.

Still smiling after a phone call last evening from a friend.  Amazing how the sound of a voice you care about can make a person feel so good.

Conversation with Son is always a good thing.  I wondered if it would bother me having another person here after living alone for so long.  It doesn't.

Afternoon naps are necessary.  Especially when one tends to stay up late at night.

Ordering pizza for supper, which is something we rarely do so it is a treat.

Listening to the sound of raindrops and thunder boomers as a mini storm rolls overhead.  The radar website tells me it will be over in a few minutes.  Maybe a little more rain headed this way overnight.  We need it.

Windows open and a slight breeze entering the apartment.  I will enjoy that now, for before long they will be closed and the air conditioning will be on.  I love the smell of fresh air, even if it is town air.

All in all, a very good day.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Once Upon a Time...

there was a relatively peaceful building with apartments above a bicycle shop.  This peace and quiet was shattered about 11:00 last evening by the sound of a smoke alarm.  There was no smoke smell and my alarms were quiet.  I headed out into the hallway to see if I could tell where the noise was coming from.  It was coming from the apartment directly across the hall, which is occupied by a single guy and his  dog.

I gave the guy a little bit of time to get the alarm shut off.  I know all about our smoke alarms that will sound for the most slim of reasons.  But he doesn't shut it off.  By this time 10 minutes have past.  I knocked on his door, thinking that maybe something was wrong with him.  No answer.  His dog started barking when I switched from knocking to pounding.  Still no answer.

Down the hall and around the corner I went, fashionably dressed in nightgown and robe, to see if I can rouse the caretaker couple.  No such luck. 

Back to my apartment, meeting another neighbor on the way who was just as fashionably dressed as I was and who was not pleased about being awakened.  If we had chickens, she would be going to bed when they did and getting up with them.  Unlike the night owl that I am.

I called the landlord, apologizing for the lateness of the hour and explained the situation.  I didn't want to call 911 if there is no reason.  He says he will call me back.

Took the landlord two calls to wake up the caretakers.  The guy in the apartment where the smoke alarm was still beeping like mad, never did answer.  The dog was not happy.  Neither was the sleepy chicken lady neighbor.  20 minutes had now passed since I first heard the alarm.

Turns out the guy across the hall had been doing his level best to see that the whiskey industry remained solvent.  When the caretakers finally went into his apartment, they found him passed out on his couch and his pizza that was in the oven, burned to a crisp.  The dog was glad to see the caretakers.  He is such a nice dog. 

They shut off the alarm, deposited the round piece of charcoal in the kitchen sink and ran water over it to stop it from smoking, shut off the oven and fed the dog. 

And we all lived happily ever after.  Except for the guy across the hall who is probably nursing a monumental hangover today.

The End.

If All Else Fails...

read the instructions.

When canning any food, I take the jars from the pressure canner and set them on a towel on my kitchen table.  There they stay overnight, giving jars and food plenty of time to cool.  In the morning I remove the metal bands and wash the jars in hot soapy water to remove any residue, label them with the contents and date, and stack them on my shelves.

This morning while removing the bands from the pints of hamburger I discovered to my absolute horror that over half of the lids had not sealed.  I had used the Tattler lids on these jars.  And that's where the reading the instructions part comes in.

When using Tattler lids, the metal bands that hold the lids in place need to be tightened and then backed off about a quarter inch before canning.  I did that.

Often times while processing, the metal bands will loosen.  So when the jars are removed from the canner, the bands need to be tightened down immediately.  I did not do that.

I forgot.

Read.  The.  Instructions.  Especially if you have a memory like a sieve as mine is.

I wiped down the rim of each jar that hadn't sealed with vinegar on a paper towel to remove any grease or food particles that would keep the jars from sealing.  Back into the canner they went for another go-around.

I used all metal lids on the jars of bacon, and they all sealed just fine.  But then, they don't require any special handling.  Used to be that metal lids needed to be simmered in hot water to soften the rubber part that adheres itself to the rim of the jar, but that isn't even required any more.

Sometimes I think my mind is just slowly turning into Jello.