Friday, August 30, 2019

Just a Quick Note...

first, to say just how awesome I think you all are.  I tell you about people who mean something to me who are hurting and you are right there with words of comfort and most importantly, with your prayers.  I can not begin to find the words to express my thanks and gratitude.  I have had no further word on either of the ladies, but I will update when I do.

I will be away from my computer for a couple of days.  Yesterday I browned 12 lbs. of hamburger and chopped 2 lbs. of onions that went into my electric roaster today, along with other ingredients for chili.  The chili needs to cook a bit longer and then I will start the canning process.  That roaster holds a lot of chili!!  In between canner loads I am dehydrating frozen hash browns and bags of slaw mix.  And there are bags of flour, sugar and rice that came with my grocery order that need to be re-packaged and stored away.  Considering I move at the speed of a herd of turtles, I expect I will be busy most of the weekend.  :)

Hope you all can get out and enjoy the last hurrah of summer.  See you next week.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Life Can Change in a Heartbeat

Most of you who come here regularly are aware that I have a condition that requires nursing services to care for my legs.  They do for me what I can not manage to do for myself.  They clean the affected areas, apply antibiotic salve and bandages where needed and wrap my legs from toes to knees in Ace bandages to help control fluid build-up.  Thanks to their kind and expert care on their three times a week visits, my legs are in better shape now than they have been since this all started.

I mention this only to tell you how much I admire and how grateful I am to these ladies who take such good care of me and of many others who need their help.  They have chosen careers that are not easy, and yet they are always cheerful and professional.  Over time I have gotten to know some of them quite well.

Yesterday I learned that the nurse I see most often, the sweet little lady who is expecting her first child in November, had fallen down some stairs.  She wasn't badly hurt, but the fall had an effect on her pregnancy.  She was hospitalized for 24 hours and is now home, apparently on bed rest, doing everything possible to see to it the baby goes full term.

Then I found that the nurse I saw on Monday has suffered a tragic loss.  Her grandbaby was found in her crib, non-responsive.  The baby was rushed to the hospital and in spite of the best efforts of the doctors, the child couldn't be saved.  I can imagine nothing more heart wrenching than to lose a child or grandchild.

I don't know what I can do for these ladies who take such good care of me, except to lift them both up in prayer.  I hope those of you who are so inclined will join me. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

I'm Still Here...

I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth just yet.  I have just been busy.

I have had some time between canning sessions so I decided I needed to do some organizing.  I am not good being organized.  But a friend of mine was telling me about re-organizing her living quarters and that kind of lit a fire under me to get busy and do the same.  (It is all your fault - you know who you are.  :) )

I worked on the organizing project over the weekend and today, getting mostly everything I wanted to done.  A couple of hours tomorrow should finish it up except for the 'closet of terror.'  That's the closet where everything I don't know what to do with gets stuffed.  I'm kind of afraid to open the door.  I think something growled at me the last time I did.

My regular grocery order will be delivered Thursday.  I have food coming for both canning and for dehydrating.  Sometimes it is awfully tempting to just say, "Heck with it.  I have enough."  Thing is, I don't think I will ever have enough.  I don't know what is coming.  I just know it is not good. 

My morning routine is to drink a couple of cups of coffee while checking out my favorite blogs and the news of the day.  I think for a little while I may skip the news.  It just gets more stupid by the day.  I know I need to keep an eye on what is happening in the world around me, but sometimes I just need a break from the insanity. 

So this evening it is just me, some hand sewing on a quilt top and a movie.  With maybe a piece of the wonderful fudge Duane brought me from the State Fair yesterday.   I had never tasted cherry chocolate fudge before, but I really hope to again.  (That's a hint, Son!)

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Social Security Scam

Yesterday my phone rang.  Often I let calls go to voice mail, but as I was expecting a call, I answered.  The voice on the other end informed me that he was from the Social Security Administration.  He further stated that there was a criminal complaint against my Social Security number.

Now in all the years I have been dealing with the Social Security Administration, never even once have they called me.  If I wish to speak to them, I am the one who initiates the call.  If they wish to get in touch with me, they do so via the US Mail.

So I told the gentleman that in all fairness and full disclosure, I was informing him that the call was being recorded and would he please clearly state his name, his title and the phone number at which my attorney could reach him to discuss the matter.

He hung up.  I don't know why.  :)

We are old.  We didn't get to be old by being stupid.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Why Prep

If we should be foolish enough to announce to friends and family that we are preppers,  the most common reaction is that look we get like we have just sprouted another eye on our foreheads or maybe have suddenly grown a third arm.  And if we garden or can or dehydrate, the astonishment of those in our circles is increased.

The first remarks are usually, "Why would you go to all that work when you can just go to the grocery and buy what you want?"  Then we are called conspiracy theorists because nothing bad will ever happen.  And then they want to know what on earth will we do with all that food.  Or all those medical supplies.  Or all of those candles, flashlights, whatever.  Followed by the inevitable. "Well, if anything bad ever does happen, I will just come to your house."

No.  You won't.

Like many who are into preparedness, my main concern is my family.  A few of them are on board and understand why I do what I do.  The rest - not so much.  But that doesn't mean that I will turn any of them away should things go south.  I couldn't live with myself if I denied any of them food and shelter in hard times.

I have had some who want to know what I am preparing for.  There are many reasons to be prepared.  It doesn't need to be an end of the world apocalypse.  Job loss, illness, accident, weather events, anything can cause life as we know it to change.  It just makes sense to have something put away for whatever rainy day happens.

Some of us look at those who homestead, who tend large gardens and raise livestock, who can, freeze and dehydrate vast quantities of food and who are as close to being self sufficient as a person can be these days.  We become discouraged because we are not in a place where we can do all those things.

The good news is that we still can prepare.  A few extra cans of tuna or green beans can be purchased with our regular grocery shopping and stashed away.  If we have the means to home can, there are Farmer's Markets that yield an astounding array of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Frozen vegetables from the store can be canned or dehydrated to extend their shelf life.  When chicken goes on sale at the grocery store, a couple of extra packages can be canned up and added to our food storage.  By watching the store sales, all sorts of items can be purchased at a lower cost.  We don't have to do it all at once.  But little by little we can build up a deep pantry or a stash of medical supplies without having to spend all of our savings to do it.

Some in the prepping community espouse 'bugging out' when things get bad.  That's all well and good if you are young, healthy and have somewhere to go.  I will be staying right where I am.  Here is where the food and supplies are.  With my health and mobility issues, I would be lucky if I made it to the end of my block.  Others say if we are in a city environment, we need to move.  For some of us that is not possible for various reasons.  What we can do is maintain a low profile and stay as inconspicuous as possible. and be prepared to defend our lives and the lives of those with us.  And that may be the best we can do.

Some say that building a community of like minded people is necessary.  I agree that is a good idea, but for many of us, those like minded folks don't live in our neighborhoods.  My community consists of a couple of my kids.  Nobody else in my area would even consider putting forth the effort to prepare.

Many of us feel totally alone in our efforts.  But we are not completely alone.  We have built a community of blogging friends and if the Internet goes away, we still have our faith and nothing or nobody can take that away from us.  Just knowing there are folks all over the country who believe in taking care of themselves, who refuse to count on government solutions to problems, who are  ready, willing and able to defend themselves and their families, goes a long way to keeping us focused on what we need to do to survive any situation.

We are all in this together.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

News Flash

Listen up.  For those who would work to change America into something it is not and was never intended to be, I have some news for you.

There are two genders.  God created them.  They are Man and Woman.  If you want to pretend to be something you are not, don't expect me to buy into the lie.  If you are a hairy chested athlete who decided he is a she in order to compete in women's sports, you should be ashamed of being too lazy to do the work to succeed against other men.  And should you go ahead with the farce and win a trophy competing against those of the opposite sex, you should be booed off the field for the cheater that you are.

When are those in power going to understand the simple reality that all the gun laws and restrictions in the world are not going to keep me safe.  If some deranged individual kicks in my apartment door with mayhem on his mind, I have mere seconds to react.  I can use those seconds to call 911, and officers of the law will come as quickly as they can, bringing with them chalk to outline where my body lays and a body bag to carry me away.  Or...I can shoot the bastard and live to hug my grandchildren another day.

Those on the left get their knickers in a twist because illegal aliens are deported and their children are separated from them.  We see pictures of crying kids and I hate to see children in distress as much as the next person.  But who is to blame for these circumstances.  Not law enforcement.  They are upholding the laws enacted by Congress.  Try putting the blame on the heads of parents who chose to cross our borders illegally, putting their own children in peril.  Had they chosen to come to our country legally, their children would not be sobbing their hearts out when Daddy is taken away.

I'm a racist.  You're a racist.  All God's children are racists- but only if they are conservative.  And why is this, you might ask?  Because that's all they've got.  The left has Socialism.  They have free stuff for all.  They have notions of gun grabbing.  And when their ideas are questioned for the lunacy that they are, their stock answer is, "Shut up, you racist."

If you are determined to disrespect our flag, our National Anthem, our very country, take a knee somewhere else.  The sports arena is not the place to do it.  Shame yourselves on your own time.  My young grandson loves sports.  He plays baseball.  He plays football.  He plays hockey.  He learns how to work with others as a team.  He learns sportsmanship.  He learns how to win gracefully and how to lose gracefully.  He learns he has to work to win that trophy,  And then you blockheads come along and teach him that none of that matters.  You teach him that the very country that gives opportunities to do what he loves, deserves to be ground under your cleats.   You might have been a hero to youngsters at one time.  All you are now is an ungrateful embarrassment. 

There are lunatics in Washington, DC.  There are lunatics in Hollywood.  There are lunatics in the sports arena.  There are lunatics in every place where the power hungry reside.  There you will find the lowest of the low - the lawless - the depraved - the hateful - the most vile.  Those who consider themselves the elites.  The ones who know better than we do how we should live our lives.  The ones who are above us all and who expect us to blindly follow.

But take a little side trip into middle America.  The places where the real people live.  The farmers and the ranchers and the factory workers and restaurant cooks and office workers and cab drivers and the cops and the firemen and the first responders and store clerks and the miners.    Those people who will shake your hand without trying to rob your wallet at the same time.  Those people who will tell you the truth.  Those people who will stand, hand over heart, when the flag passes in the 4th of July parade.  Those people who go to work every day so their families will have a roof over their heads and food on the table.  Those people who don't give a tinker's damn about fame or power or any of the rest of it.  Those people who watch their daughter's dance recitals and their son's baseball games.  Those people who find nothing more important than reading a bedtime story to their children.  Those people who cling to their guns, their Bibles, their God.

Those are the people who matter.  The elites may try to convince us that their insanity is something we all should buy into.  But Middle America is better than that.  Middle America knows what is truly important and there are more of us than there are of the lunatic elite.  And we can be pushed only so far.  I think we may be on the edge of the cliff now.  But we will not fall off the edge and into their cesspool.  We know what is good and right, and it ain't you - the self centered, power hungry, anti-patriotic, morally deficient elite.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Lessons From the Great Depression

While on self imposed R & R, I spent some time reading articles and watching videos about the Great Depression of the 1930's.  I have very little understanding of the Stock Market nor do I care much about the politics of the time.  My focus is on how the average citizen managed to keep body and soul together through those hard times.

One reoccurring theme was having cash on hand.  Banks closed their doors and folks could not access the money in their accounts.  People lost their entire life savings, not to mention their homes.  Renters were evicted because they had no money to pay their rent.  Those who had stashed cash in their mattresses probably didn't have enough cash to last for years but chances were pretty good they had enough to at least give them time to make rational decisions on what to do before the cash ran out.

Those who lived in the country fared better than the city dwellers.  They planted gardens, kept chickens for meat and eggs, had a cow for milk and butter and raised hogs for meat.  Many of those interviewed who lived through the Depression said they didn't know there was a Depression because they had plenty to eat.  And they had products to barter for what they couldn't buy.  They would trade eggs and butter for sugar and coffee.  They sometimes paid the doctor bills with vegetables from their gardens.  They were cash poor but they had the means to work around that.

Those in the cities felt the effects of the Depression sooner and to a greater degree than the country folks.  Jobs disappeared.  Food became scarce.  In February of 1931, desperate to feed their families, citizens of Minneapolis rioted, smashing the windows of closed grocery stores and running off with whatever food they could carry.  This was repeated over time in many areas of the country.

In the cities, soup kitchens run by churches and private charities were opened to feed the masses of hungry people.  Bread lines formed as people stood in lines for hours in hopes of being given a loaf of bread or other food to feed starving families.

Those who had a variety of skills were better off than those who knew only the skills required to do the jobs that no longer existed.  A man who knew how to shingle a roof, clean a chimney, do maintenance work on a vehicle could earn cash or barter his services for food.  Women provided laundry services, baked bread and cakes to be sold, did sewing for those who didn't know how.  The more skills a person had, the better their chances of survival.

People learned to 'make do.'  Lacking money for new clothes, holes were patched, seams were taken in or let out as needed to make a piece of clothing fit, holes in stockings were darned.  Mothers used whatever they had on hand to fashion clothing for their children - old sheets, flour sacks, etc.  Old cloth coats were taken apart and turned inside out to sew new coats or jackets for the children.  Scrap fabric was saved and turned into quilts.  Nothing was wasted.

Broken tools, appliances, furniture were not thrown out but were repaired until they could no longer be fixed.  People glued soles back onto worn boots.  Others lined the insides of their shoes with cardboard to cover the places where holes were worn through the soles.  Children wore shoes only in the winter, for there was no money to buy new shoes and they weren't to be worn out in the warmer months when kids could go barefoot.

Today we live in a disposable society.  We break the Mr. Coffee, we buy a new one.  We have more shoes than any one person can ever wear out.  We have clothing hanging in the closets that aren't worn because the fashion of the day dictates these items to be 'out of style.'  We firmly believe that the supermarkets will always be open, filled with every imaginable product to eat.  We rarely carry cash, choosing rather to whip out our credit cards to pay for nearly everything.  And we no longer know how to can tomatoes or sew a seam or bake a loaf of bread.

If we ever have another set of circumstances resulting in another Depression, I fear most of America will be in a world of hurt due to a total lack of knowledge needed to survive. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Off Kilter

I am just a tad bit under the weather.  Nothing serious enough to worry about, but enough so that rest is needed.  I will return shortly, when I can get my brain cells to function.  All they do right now is yawn.  :). 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Canning Report

I had about 45 lbs. of beef that was cut into one inch cubes, packed raw into pint jars and processed in my pressure canner for 75 minutes.  I got 37 pints of beef cubes.

There was a certain amount of waste in trimming fat and gristle from the beef.  I suppose I could have been more precise in trimming, but I wasn't, with the result was that there is a considerable amount of red meat in with the scrap fat.  Not wanting to waste anything, I bagged up the scraps and froze them.  I'm thinking maybe I can boil them up later with some onion and carrots, skim the fat, strain out everything else and wind up with some decent beef broth.  Worth a try.

I had two packages of brats that together held a total of 36 brats.  Common sense flew out the window and rather than test just one jar, I ran 7 jars through, each containing 3 brats, only to find when I did a taste test that I didn't care for the results.  The brats held together during canning but the texture changed, becoming more like the meat had been very finely ground.  Somebody else might not mind this change, but I didn't like it.  That being said, I'm sure I can find a use for the canned brats, perhaps cutting them into small pieces for use in casseroles.  I froze the remaining brats.

And then I ran out of jars.

I messaged my kids on Friday saying, "I am in desperate need of canning jars.  I am begging here.  Any takers?"

Almost immediately daughter Jeri messaged me back saying she could do the deed but not until Monday.  She asked if that would work.  I said I would make it work 

I browned the burger over the weekend and canned some Monday evening and the rest this morning.  40 lbs. of hamburger got me 54 pints. 

The plan was to use part of the hamburger to  make and can chili, but plans often change.  It is hot and humid outside.  Not a good time to be cooking pots of chili, so that will wait for cooler days.  The chickens will also stay in the freezer for a while.

All in all, I am pleased with the amounts of canned meat that are headed for the shelves - and for Duane's apartment, because I am pretty much out of storage space.  Having a kid living next door comes in handy now and then.   Lucky for me, he is always willing to help when needed, as are the rest of my kids.  I would have a tough time doing what I do without their help.