Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Last evening I was looking for something to watch while I worked on my grandson's afghan.  I clicked on a video of a Holocaust survivor's story.  I have no idea why I chose that one as I usually look for videos or movies that are somewhat lighter in subject, but I became interested and watched several others as well.

What caught my interest weren't the horrors these people suffered, but were the things that happened leading up to the deportations to concentration camps.

Most had older relatives who couldn't believe that anything bad would happen to them.  Most had Gentile friends who turned against them and some of those friends were the cause of arrests.  Whether the reasons for turning against their Jewish friends were previously hidden prejudices or fear of the German soldiers, the outcome was usually the same.  After a while nobody trusted anybody.

Another factor was food.  As time went on, shops closed one by one and obtaining enough food to feed a family became difficult.  When food rationing began, the ability to find food became close to impossible.  And after the Jews  were forced to move into ghettos, food became nearly non-existent.  Many starved to death long before the deportations began.

Another reoccurring theme was the lies.  Some Jews were told that if they presented themselves at a certain time at a certain location, they would be given extra rations.  When they appeared they were either loaded into boxcars or were killed outright.

Other times they were told that if they volunteered to work for the German military they would earn enough to buy their food.  Those that volunteered were usually worked to death without pay or food.

In the end, the Jews were lied to about everything.  It was all about promising them a better life in order to get them where the government wanted them without any fuss or bother or resistance.

Food became the most important thing in the lives of many Jews.  The food they had managed to put away was confiscated.  There were no places to buy food and that didn't matter because their money and valuables had also been taken from them.  Starvation became a way of life.

See any parallels?  I noticed that so many didn't believe anything bad would happen.  That seems to be the prevailing attitude today.  Even though we are watching our freedoms being eroded little by little, many don't seem to care.  As long as they have their big screen TVs and a couple of cars in the garage and can afford to go out on Saturday night, they pay little attention to what is happening around them.

Many believe there will always be grocery stores full of food.  They shop once a week and believe they will do so forever.  The thought of stocking up on food and supplies seems like a waste of time and effort to them.  And they consider those of us who are into food storage to be tin foil hat wearing crazies.

Most everyone is aware of the fact that politicians lie.  They tell us what they think we want to hear in order to promote whatever their agenda is.  But mostly they lie to gain or keep power.  They lie to keep us complacent.  They want us smart enough to do the work that needs to be done but dumb enough so we don't question their motives.  And all the while they are chipping away at your freedoms and mine. 

I don't know how all of this is going to play out, but I can guarantee it won't be to the advantage of the people. 

I am beginning to understand why so many are trying to rewrite history, for if we don't remember what happened in the past, we are doomed to see similar horrors in the future.

It is way past time to wake up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

When you lead a quiet life...

sometimes you have to dig deep to find something to write about.  I suppose I could go on another rant, but the topics to choose from are so numerous that I really wouldn't know where to begin.

~I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact there are women who are fighting for the right to kill their babies.  Granted, pregnancies from rape and incest are horrible, but there are thousands of couples who desperately want to adopt children.  And for the rest of you women, you might not have an unwanted pregnancy if you had kept your knees firmly together.

-To Representative Jerry Nadler:  You might want to find another hobby.  This 'Get Trump' thing is getting old.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  All the subpoenas or Contempt of Congress charges in the world are not going to change that.  How about concentrating on legislating for those who voted for you.  For a change.

~Securing our borders is not racist.  Securing our borders is common sense.  I don't lock my door because of racism.  I lock my door so that strangers don't walk in, use my shower, raid my refrigerator or sleep in my bed.  I lock my door so some low-life criminal doesn't walk in to steal what little I have and likely beat me to a pulp in the process.  I lock my door so I have control of who enters.  I lock my door to stay as safe as possible in my home.  There is no reason for our borders to be any different.

~Second Amendment:  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
infringe (from Merriam-Webster): "to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another."
So someone needs to explain to me why there are so many restrictions on gun ownership.  Nowhere in the second amendment does it say 'except for scary looking black rifles' or 'permits required' or 'guns must be kept securely locked up.'  Seems to me both State and Federal governments are infringing like crazy, and threatening to do more of the same.

~Why are the criminal acts of some 'refugees' overlooked by the press.  Just a few nights ago, a group of Somali teens, armed with pipes and hammers, attacked citizens at a Light Rail station in Minneapolis, and yet no local news agency reported this attack.  According to those who monitor police scanners, the group of thugs were after affluent white train passengers with the object being to beat and rob them.  Several victims were taken to hospitals with serious injuries.  And our local news reports?  Crickets.

Back to my quiet little life.  We have some weather moving our way that should show up this evening in the form of wind and rain.  I am off to finish washing up the dirty dishes from yesterday and to get some laundry done.  And check my lists to see what I need to do next for my preps.  If one of the crazies on the Left gets elected in 2020, I think we are going to need all the help we can get.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

And So It Goes...

Mothers Day was a quiet, relaxing day.  Both of my daughters called.  One sounded awful.  She was nursing a nasty cold and said she was getting off the couch just long enough for her two adult kids to take her out for lunch and then she was headed right back to the couch.  Poor thing.

The other called from the road.  She was headed to North Dakota to help my grandson in college move into a different dorm room.  He was able to get a single room and was happy to have a room to himself.  And she was stocking up his supply of snacks.

I was happy both of my girls could spend time with their offspring on Mother's Day.  We have plans for shopping trips later this summer.

David called in the afternoon.  He said the plans to come see me had to be set aside because he had to take Maddie Mae to Urgent Care.  Poor kid has strep throat.  It just wouldn't have been right to leave her home while the other kids visited Grandma, so I talked with each of them on the phone instead.  David stopped by this afternoon with a card signed by all of them, each writing a nice greeting, and a lovely bouquet of spring flowers.  He said he didn't bring me a plant because he knew I would just kill it.  He knows his mother well.  :)  He also had a DQ Blizzard for me, which made my day.

Duane had to work Sunday, but he showed up in the afternoon with a carry-out box full of ham, turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, and another with chocolate cake.  With chocolate frosting.  He knows how to put a smile on Mom's face.

Last Friday the contractor came in to do the touch-up painting on the window trim.  He promised he would be back Monday to finish the job.  This afternoon I called my landlord and told him what was going to happen if the contractor didn't show back up by Friday.  I was going to pack up his paint and tools and set them out in the hall.  I was going to have my boys move my furniture back where it belonged and I would not, under any circumstances, allow that man back into my home.  This may be just a little apartment downtown, but it is my home and I will not take any more abuse.

One hour later the painting was done, the tools were packed up and my furniture was back in place.  And I didn't have to call my boys.

I did call the landlord to thank him for getting the guy over here so quickly.  I figured if I call to complain, I can call to say thank you.  My landlord told me to deduct more than half my rent for June to compensate for all the trouble and because my mother raised no fools, I accepted.

I had about 8 lbs. of potatoes and 4 lbs. of carrots that needed to be taken care of, so this morning I peeled and diced and blanched an got them into the dehydrator.  They will go into the bags of dried vegetables I use for soups and stews.  I need to get my grocery order ready and am trying to decide what to get for storage this time.  I think I may go for some of the packaged rice and pasta mixes, as they are always good for a quick meal.  I'm holding off on the meat for canning until David takes me to Sam's Club where I can get it cheaper.

I managed to get the dust from the construction cleaned out of my sewing machine and have been working on finishing some quilt tops.  With any kind of luck I will have pictures in a week or so.

I know Spring is here for sure.  I watched three or four little boys practicing with their skateboards in the alley across the street.  They are fun to watch when they are working hard at mastering a trick, and when mastered, moving on to another.

Takes very little to amuse me.  :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

So the day after I grumble about cooking...

I cooked.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was digging in my freezer, I found a forgotten bag full of venison that youngest son David had given me.  The meat was vacuum sealed so it was all good. 

It didn't start out well.  I had promised Duane a venison roast dinner, but when I opened the package of meat I found I had thawed out chops instead.  Undeterred, I soldiered on, browning the chops and putting them into the crock pot with salt, pepper, onion, a little garlic and a sprinkling of sage.  They simmered all day until they were falling apart tender.

Later in the  day I scrubbed half a dozen potatoes and cut them into wedges.  Then I peeled some carrots and cut them into about 3-inch chunks.  I tossed the whole works in a little olive oil, spread them out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with salt, pepper and some parsley flakes and baked them until they were nicely browned and tender.

Deciding to go all out, I dug into my pantry and came up with a yellow cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple.  I stirred up the cake, drained the pineapple and mixed it into the batter and baked it.  I used the pineapple juice to flavor the buttercream frosting.

Duane says I done good.  He says when you make your living as a cook, it is a treat to eat someone else's cooking.  And I had fun fixing a meal for someone besides myself.

Guess I will have to retract my previous post.  :)

Monday, May 13, 2019

I Hate to Cook

Well, maybe that's a little bit harsh.  I hate to cook for just one.

I enjoyed making big meat and potato type meals or big bowls of spaghetti or pans of lasagna when there were lots of kids at the dinner table.  I miss that.  I even miss the inevitable "But, Mom...Do I really hafta eat the green beans?  You know I hate green beans."  And I miss the nearly nightly arguments about whose turn it was to wash the supper dishes. These days if I really want a full meal, my crock pot is my friend.  Toss the food in and let it simmer all day.  And there are no arguments about whose turn it is to wash dishes.  Sadly, it is always my turn.

I read blogs where the writers are serving up fantastic meals for their families and I am jealous.  They spend hours slicing and dicing and sauteing and allowing the flavors to blend.  My idea of a gourmet meal is frying the Spam before making a sandwich.

 Perhaps I have just become lazy.  It's not that I dislike working with food.  My shelves packed full of home canned goodies and my other shelf full of home dehydrated foods are testimony to that.  I just can't seem to muster the ambition to cook very many real meals for just myself.

 Might be  form of 'empty nest syndrome,' for I am looking forward to tomorrow when I will cook a venison roast with roasted potatoes and carrots to share with Duane.  There might even be a dessert involved.

 So I am wondering if anyone besides me considers crackers and cheese and a handful of grapes a sufficient lunch.  Sigh.

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Love her while you still have her.

I miss you, Mom.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

So I had another chat...

with my landlord on Monday.  I expressed my desire to have the window work finished.  Actually, what I said was that I was just plain done.  We talked about the pictures I had taken of the condition of my living room with furniture now taking up most of the floor space and the shelving unit moved in front of my sewing table and left there for two weeks with my sewing machine open to the dust and the fact that I couldn't get at it to clean it.  Or use it.  We discussed the notion that an attorney perhaps might consider that obstacle course a bit dangerous for an elderly lady who is tethered to an oxygen machine and who has mobility issues. 

He called me back ten minutes later, telling me the window guys would arrive this morning to finish the job.

My landlord stopped by about 10:30 this morning to see how the work was progressing.  It wasn't.  They were nowhere to be seen.  I swear, I could see steam coming out his ears when he left. 

Half an hour later there was some serious sawing of boards and nailing of trim around the windows going on.  They will be back here in the morning to do some touch-up painting and to restore my living room to its original condition.  They know about the pictures.

I don't like confrontation or yelling or unpleasantness.  Peace and serenity make me much happier.  But sometimes a person just has to stand up for themselves.  It has been nearly four months since this project began. 
My patience is gone.

My landlord surprised me by volunteering to deduct a goodly amount of money from my next month's rent for every month I have been inconvenienced.  I didn't ask for that nor did I expect it.  But I'll take it.

And now I need to order curtains to cover my lovely, new, finished windows.  :)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Prepping Lesson Learned

I had half a head of lettuce in my fridge that needed to be used up, so I made myself a salad to go with supper.  There was no Ranch Dressing in the fridge so I raided my pantry closet, knowing there were three bottles of it on the shelf.

When I opened the dressing bottle, the contents smelled odd.  When I looked closely, I saw the color was darker than it should be.  The second bottle was the same as was the third.  They went in the trash.

The expiration date on all three bottles was Feb 2017.  Ordinarily I don't pay much attention to expiration dates or 'Best if used by' dates.  Many commercially canned foods are good long after those dates.  Apparently Ranch Dressing isn't one of them.

I don't know if the room where they were stored was too warm or if it was because so many foods like that are now packaged in plastic rather than glass.  I have had the same problem with ketchup in plastic bottles.  I also had one jar of mayo that tasted off, but I think that was because I bought the cheaper store brand.

I know there are dry mixes for ranch dressing.  I may try that.  I don't use much dressing, so it makes more sense to use a mix rather than try to keep bottles of it on hand.

I also found this recipe that looks good, so I may try it before buying the commercial mix.


1/2 cup nonfat dry powdered milk
2 tablespoons dry parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. To make dressing, mix 1 heaping tablespoon into 1 cup buttermilk that's been mixed with 1 cup mayonnaise. Stir until well blended. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use. Wait at least 30 minutes for flavors to combine.


1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon Ranch Dressing Mix

Stir all ingredients together and refrigerate for 2 or more hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Buttermilk is not something  have on hand, but  found powdered buttermilk in the grocery store next to the non-fat instant powdered milk and I bought one.  I may get a couple more. I'll let you know how it all works out.

Friday, May 3, 2019

An Experiment...

Some time back I saw a few videos on homesteading and prepping channels about using Crisco to make candles.  As it happens, I have three or four large cans of Crisco that I bought at Sam's Club several years ago.  I find that I rarely use it for baking or frying like my mother did.  So the cans were taking up space that could be used for other things.

I filled a pint jar with Crisco, leaving about an inch of space at the top.  I have some utility- type candles that are about half an inch thick and 6 inches long.  I shoved one of these down into the center of the jar and lit the wick.  I let it burn for 8 hours and found it had burned down less than half an inch.   I don't yet know how far down it will burn before it goes out. There was no noticeable odor or smoke.

The Crisco burns sort of like the wax in any other container candle.  It melts as it burns so there is very little unmelted Crisco clinging to the inside of the jar.  I used a regular pint jar.  I'm not sure if the Crisco would have melted from the sides of a wide mouth jar as well as it does in the small mouth jar.

I have 6 more of the utility candles, so I will make more of the Crisco candles to use as emergency lighting.  I also have a couple of cases of the very small canning jars that hold 1/2 cup each.  I am wondering if I could also fill them with Crisco and use thick birthday cake candles for the wicks.  Those would be like over sized tea lights.

Sometimes ideas work and sometimes, not so much.  I was kind of surprised that the Crisco candle actually worked.  Candles don't give off a lot of light, but in a pinch, they are better than no light at all.